Half a decade has gone by since the war in Abkhazia ended. Ever since then, Abkhazia has been isolated, blockaded, terrorized, and ignored. Neither the blockade, nor the sustained level of Georgian terrorism, nor the severing of communications could force the people of Abkhazia to surrender their hard-won freedom. After half a decade of de facto independence, in October 1999, Abkhazia held a referendum on independence, which passed by a large majority.
REPUBLIC OF ABKHAZIA
ACT OF STATE INDEPENDENCE OF THE REPUBLIC OF ABKHAZIA
Abkhazian Statehood stretches over 12 centuries of history. For centuries the people of Abkhazia have had to struggle to preserve their independence. Since the start of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the people of Abkhazia have intensified their struggle for their lost State independence. The adoption on 25th August 1990 of the "Declaration of State Sovereignty" by the Supreme Council of Abkhazia was a first step to its restoration. The disruption of state-legal relations between Abkhazia and Georgia initiated by the Georgian authorities and the subsequent Abkhazo-Georgian war of 1992-1993 resulted in the independence of Abkhazia both de facto and de jure. The Constitution of the Republic of Abkhazia, adopted by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Abkhazia on 26th November 1994, became the legal basis for the independent State - the Republic of Abkhazia (Apsny), already created de facto.
On 3rd October 1999 a referendum was held to ascertain the citizens' attitude to the current Constitution. On the referendum day there lived on the territory of Abkhazia 219,534 citizens eligible to vote, i.e. 58.5% of the pre-war number of voters. 87.6% of the registered voters took part in the referendum, which comprised more than half of the pre-war number of voters. 97.7% of the voters approved the Constitution currently in force. Under the Constitution and the Law of the Republic of Abkhazia On National Voting (Referendum), democratic rule shall form the basis of the state authority in the Republic of Abkhazia; the people shall exercise their power either directly by means of referendum or through their representatives.
In such a way the people of Abkhazia have reaffirmed their determination to proceed with building a sovereign, democratic State functioning in accordance with law, a subject of international law, and to seek its recognition by the international community. The rights and freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, On Civil and Political Rights and other universally recognised international legal acts are among the most fundamental principles of the Constitutional system of the Republic of Abkhazia. The Republic of Abkhazia intends to build up its relations with other States on the basis of equality, peace, good-neighbourly relations, respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs, and other universally recognised principles of political, economic and cultural cooperation between States.
Proceeding from the above, we appeal to the UN, OSCE, and to all States of the world to recognise the independent State created by the people of Abkhazia on the basis of the right of nations to free self-determination.
President of the Republic of Abkhazia V. ARDZINBA
Speaker of the People's Assembly of the Republic of Abkhazia S. DJINDJOLIA
Deputies of the People's Assembly of the Republic of Abkhazia
The city of Sukhum, 12th October 1999