The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution on the occupied territories of Georgia
On 1 April 2022, in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the Occupied Territories of Georgia - "Cooperation with Georgia."
The resolution of Georgia was presented by the First Deputy Foreign Minister, Lasha Darsalia at the Council session. In his speech, he spoke about the difficult humanitarian situation in the Russian-occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. He noted that despite the direct call of the Human Rights Council and the efforts of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Russian occupation forces continue to prevent the Office of the High Commissioner and other international human rights monitoring mechanisms from entering Abkhazia and Tskhinvali.
The First Deputy Foreign Minister once again underlined the decision of the European Court of Human Rights of 21 January 2021 - Georgia v. Russia - which confirms the occupation of Georgian territories by Russia and its effective control over them.
In his speech Lasha Darsalia underlined that Russia's pattern of behaviour towards its neighbors remains unchanged. Georgia experienced Russia’s full-scale military aggression in 2008. Recent announcement on conduction of so-called referendum in the occupied South Ossetia on unification with RF is yet another demonstration of continues aggressive policy vis a vis Georgia. This pattern of behavior brazenly undermines the entire international rules-based order and poses grave threat to regional and global peace and security.
The First Deputy Minister reviewed the latest report of the High Commissioner, which reflects the grave humanitarian situation in the Russian-occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali and the gross human rights violations experienced by the conflict-affected population in both regions, including various forms of discrimination based on ethnicity, and violation of property rights, restriction of movement and education in the mother tongue.
Lasha Darsalia noted that the report provides facts about the killing of ethnic Georgians in 2014-2019 and emphasizes that the failure to bring to justice the perpetrators of the crimes contributes to strengthening the sense of impunity in the occupied regions. He also spoke about illegal cases of deprivation of liberty and noted that Georgian citizens are still illegally held captive by the occupation regime. At the same time, he stressed the need for the international community to work for their release.
According to the First Deputy Minister, the dire humanitarian situation in the occupied territories of Georgia clearly indicates the need for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other international human rights monitoring mechanisms to get access to the occupied regions of Georgia.
During the discussion of the resolution initiated by the Georgian side, statements of support were made by the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Finland, and Lithuania. In its resolution adopted on 1 April, the Human Rights Council reaffirmed its support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
In its resolution, the Human Rights Council expresses serious concern also at various forms of reported discrimination against ethnic Georgians, violations of the right to life, deprivation of liberty, arbitrary detentions and kidnappings, infringements of the right to property, violations of the right to health, restrictions on education in one’s native language in both Georgian regions, and the continued practice of demolition of the ruins of houses belonging to internally displaced persons in the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia, refusal of medical evacuations that led to the deaths of people and further isolation of the regions. The Resolution maintains that the increasing restrictions on free movement in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic further exacerbated the humanitarian, social and economic situation on the ground and had particularly harmful effects on women’s and girls' rights.
The Resolution also expresses serious concern at the continuous process of installation and advancement of barbed wire fences and different artificial barriers along the administrative boundary line in Abkhazia, Georgia and Tskhinvali region, Georgia and adjacent areas.
The Resolution underlines the importance of the Geneva International Discussions established on the basis of the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008.
It is noteworthy that the resolution refers to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights of 21 January 2021, which claims that Russia is legally responsible for violations of international law and fundamental human rights during and after the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008, and for the occupation and effective control over Georgian territories.
The resolution condemns the so-called Parliamentary elections in the occupied region of Abkhazia on 12 March 2022 and so-called presidential elections scheduled for April of this year in the occupied region of Tskhinvali.
The UN Human Rights Council expresses serious concern at the repeated denial of access to international and regional monitors, including United Nations human rights mechanisms to both Georgian
regions by those in control of those regions and calls for immediate and unimpeded access to be given to the Office of the High Commissioner and international and regional human rights mechanisms to Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia.
The UN Human Rights Council requests the High Commissioner to present to the Human Rights Council an oral update on the follow-up to the present resolution and to present a written report on developments relating to and the implementation of the present resolution at its at its 50th and 51st sessions.