Conflict in Georgia: Secretary General’s Consolidated Report says little progress in human rights and humanitarian situation in conflict-affected areasThursday, 20 April 2023 14:33
Strasbourg, 19.04.2023 – Serious concerns persist regarding the human rights situation in the areas affected by the armed conflict between the Russian Federation and Georgia in August 2008, according to a report by Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić presented to the Committee of Ministers and published today.
The bi-annual report (covering the period November 2022–March 2023) on the conflict in Georgia highlighted that core issues concerning the human rights and humanitarian situation in the conflict-affected areas continue to see little progress. Various restrictions on freedom of movement and access to education and healthcare remain of serious concern, including in terms of their impact on vulnerable groups.
Against the continuous impediments by the Russian Federation to peaceful conflict resolution, security, and stability in the wider region, the Secretary General welcomed Georgia’s continuous efforts and initiatives aimed at promoting dialogue and reconciliation, and their provision of free access to health care, education, and other social benefits for all residents of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as their efforts to address the needs of internally displaced persons.
During the period under review, operational activities on Confidence-Building Measures were continued. The report, for instance, notes that archive specialists from both sides of the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) continued to work in online format and met in person, for the first time since the Covid-19 public health crisis. Efforts have been initiated to facilitate dialogue between psychologists specialised in war traumas and on the prevention of gender-based violence on both sides of the ABL. The development of further initiatives continues in close co-ordination with the Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civic Equality.
Secretary General stressed that continuing her periodic reporting to the Committee of Ministers on the conflict in Georgia will remain a high priority.
Note for Editors
Consolidated reports on the conflict in Georgia have been prepared by the Secretary General since 2010, following a Committee of Ministers decision. The current report is based, inter alia, on the results of the fact-finding visit to Tbilisi on 13-14 February 2023. The delegation also had the possibility to observe the situation at the Administrative Boundary Line.
The current Consolidated report examines, inter alia, the implementation of the European Court’s judgments in the two inter-state cases “Georgia v. Russia (II)”, concerning the armed conflict between Georgia and the Russian Federation in 2008 and its consequences, and "Georgia v. Russia" (I)” concerning arrests, detentions and expulsions from the Russian Federation of Georgian nationals in 2006-2007.
On 20 April, the European Court of Human Rights is due to deliver a ruling on the inter-state application “Georgia v. Russia (IV)”, lodged by the Government of Georgia in August 2018, which concerns the alleged deterioration of the human rights situation along the administrative boundary lines between Georgian-controlled territory and Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
European Union and Georgia hold Strategic Security DialogueFriday, 27 January 2023 12:17
The fifth high-level EU–Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue took place on 25 January 2023 in Tbilisi. It reflected the strong level of commitment by both parties to take cooperation forward, including on foreign and security policy, in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
The parties highlighted the historic importance of the decision of the European Council of 23 June 2022 to recognise the European perspective to Georgia.
The participants discussed the consequences of the conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, including the conflict dynamics in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. They called on the Russian Federation to fully implement the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 ceasefire Agreement.
They also highlighted the important role of the EU Monitoring Mission for peace and security in Georgia, and underlined the necessity of ensuring the full implementation of its mandate. The European Union reaffirmed its unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
The meetings of the high-level EU–Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue are held once a year and cover issues of common interest in the field of foreign and security policy.
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Another round of political consultations held between the foreign ministries of Georgia and the Republic of MaldivesTuesday, 27 December 2022 11:43
Within the framework of the visit, on 23 December, the second round of political consultations was held between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and the Republic of Maldives. From the Georgian side, the consultations were chaired by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aleksandre Khvtisiashvili.
During the consultations, the sides discussed in detail a wide range of bilateral relations and talked about the prospects for future cooperation. Both sides emphasized the importance of exchanging high-level visits and developing the bilateral legal framework. Talking points also included the possibility of developing relations in the areas of trade, tourism, education, sports and agriculture. In addition, the sides highlighted the importance of deepening cooperation in multilateral formats, including within the UN. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia thanked his Maldivian counterpart for supporting the UN resolution on the status of displaced persons and refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia and Tskhinvali region, Georgia.
During the consultations, the Maldivian side confirmed once again its support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Within the framework of the visit to Georgia, the delegation of the Republic of Maldives also held meetings with the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, Nikoloz Samkharadze, and the Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Genadi Arveladze.
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the 56th Round of the Geneva International DiscussionsFriday, 07 October 2022 09:28
The 56th round of the Geneva International Discussions was held on 5 October 2022. The Georgian delegation was led by the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lasha Darsalia. The round was conducted as a result of the active involvement and efforts of the Co-Chairs from the EU, UN and OSCE as well as of the USA.
The round was focused on the core agenda items of the Geneva International Discussions related to the necessity of full implementation of the provisions of the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement. Georgian delegation also made an emphasis on one of the main issues of the agenda – the safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees to their homes.
The Geneva International Discussions were launched on the basis of the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement. The discussions are held within the frames of two Working Groups, where participants are represented in their individual capacity. In the first Working Group talks are focused on security and stability in the occupied territories of Georgia, while in second Working Group – on humanitarian and human rights situation in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, as well as on the issues related to safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees to the places of their origin. The discussions are held with Co-Chairmanship of the EU, UN and OSCE, and participation of Georgia, the Russian Federation and the USA. The Head of the Provisional Administration of the former South Ossetian Autonomous District and the Chairman of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, as well as the representatives of the Sokhumi and Tskhinvali occupation regimes also attend the Working Groups.
EU condemns Lukashenko visit to Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia
The EU has strongly condemned the visit of Alexander Lukashenko to the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia.
On 28 September, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko visited Abkhazia, which illegally declared its independence from Georgia in 2008 with Russia’s support.
“Apart from the fact that Lukashenko lacks any legitimacy to act as a head of state, this visit was undertaken without the consent of the government of Georgia, which is the only legitimate authority over the region of Abkhazia,” said European External Action Service Spokesperson Peter Stano. “This visit violates Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and constitutes a blatant violation of international law.”
The EU also reaffirmed its steadfast support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognised borders.
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Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia regarding A. Lukashenko’s travel to Georgia’s Abkhazia region occupied by the Russian FederationThursday, 29 September 2022 10:05
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia expresses its deep concern regarding Aleksandr Lukashenko’s travel to the Russian occupied Abkhazia region and the meeting held with the representatives of the Russian occupation regime in Sokhumi.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia condemns the violation of the Georgian state border by Aleksandr Lukashenko with his so-called visit in the occupied Abkhazia region, which blatantly infringes the fundamental principles and norms of international law.
We call on the Belarusian side to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the sovereign state within its internationally recognized borders and not to take the actions, which contradict the fundamental principles of international law.
MFA of Georgia
Abkhaz Artist Nikoloz Emkhvari Holds Exhibit at Orbeniani Palace
The Orbeliani Palace opened today an exhibit of paintings by Abkhaz artist Nikoloz Emkhvari as a show of President Salome Zourabichvili’s support for the ongoing Tbilisi Art Fair and for the freedom of self-expression of young artists.
During the opening ceremony, the President spoke about the background behind the exhibit, emphasizing its important: “I am glad that today we have the opportunity to host young artist Nika Emkhvari in this palace, an artist whose very interesting works I saw for the time a few months ago at the Sighnaghi Museum. It was there that the idea to organize this exhibit in this palace was born. As Tbilisi Art Fair is taking place, this exhibit is timely and my wish was for us to be a participant in this event. The artist, in addition to representing himself through his work, is from Abkhazia and it’s crucial that Abkhazia is represented here today at the Art Fair. This is Georgian art, this is a very interesting form of modern art. Georgia is a country where the rise of modern talent is taking place and it’s good to see such a creative ability in our youth, and across our country.”
Nikoloz Emkhvari thanked the President and said, “Art is everything to me and I want to put my soul into my works. Thank you for being here to view my works that depict human nature. This is what I want to show with my creativity.”
Mr. Konstantine Natsvlishvili, Adviser to the President on Cultural Affairs, stated that Georgia’s reality and environment have been a great influence to the creativity of artists. He said: “We live in an interesting era and of course Nika Emkhvari is no exception. In his work, we can see the role of pop culture, the images that remain in our consciousness and manifested in new form. These images speak for themselves. They show the medium through which the artist speaks to us and in this universal language, understood by the whole world, he says what he needs to say. This artist’s works really deserve attention.”
August 2008 Russia-Georgia war: EU reiterates its support to Georgia’s territorial integrityWednesday, 10 August 2022 11:37
The EU reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s recognition of and continued military presence in the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “It is a violation of both international law and of Russia’s commitments under the 12 August 2008 agreement,” says a press release issued by the EU Delegation to Georgia on the 14th anniversary of the August 2008 Russo-Georgian war.
“The human rights of conflict-affected communities in Georgia continue to be violated, including through so-called ’borderisation’ policies, closures of crossing points and illegal detentions. Restrictions on their freedom of movement must end,” says the press release. “We call again for accountability, including a credible investigation of all past violations of human rights to hold the perpetrators to account, to bring justice to the victims, and to ensure proper follow-up by the Russian Federation of the landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on 21 January 2021.”
The EU says it remains fully committed to conflict resolution, including through its engagement as co-chair in the Geneva International Discussions, through the work of its Special Representative and the continued presence on the ground of its Monitoring Mission. The EU also reiterates its firm support to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.
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Anniversary of the Russian Invasion of GeorgiaMonday, 08 August 2022 12:14
ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE
Fourteen years ago today, Russia invaded the sovereign nation of Georgia. As we have done since 2008, we remember those killed and injured by Russian forces. For decades, the citizens of Georgia in Abkhazia and South Ossetia have lived under Russian occupation and tens of thousands have been displaced, persecuted, and impoverished. Lives and livelihoods have been taken from them.
This year, Russia’s unprovoked further invasion of Ukraine underscores the need for the people of Georgia and Ukraine to stand together in solidarity. The people of Georgia know all too well how Russia’s aggressive actions, including disinformation, so-called “borderization,” and mass displacement cause untold hardships and destruction.
Russia must be accountable to the commitments it made under the 2008 ceasefire – withdrawing its forces to pre-conflict positions and allowing unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. It also must reverse its recognition of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. This is essential for hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons to be able to return to their homes safely and with dignity.
We remain steadfast in our support for the people of Georgia as they seek to protect their sovereignty and territorial integrity and find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs On the 14th anniversary of Russia's military aggression against Georgia in August 2008Monday, 08 August 2022 11:24
Today, the 7th of August 2022, marks the 14th year after the full-fledged military intervention of the Russian Federation against Georgia in 2008. It entailed illegal occupation of the inseparable regions of Georgia - Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and their recognition as so-called independent states by Russia.
After 14 years of the occupation, Russia does not fulfill the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, and expands its illegal control in the occupied regions, continues the process of their militarization, actively undertakes steps towards their de-facto annexation. With building barbed wires and other artificial barriers along the occupation line, illegal detentions and kidnappings, gross violations of human rights and ethnic discrimination of Georgians it is undermining the security, human rights and humanitarian situation on the ground and is trying to isolate the people living in the occupied territories from the rest of Georgia and the international community.
Violation of fundamental human rights in Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, ethnic discrimination and the violation of the right of hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees to return to their homes in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia continues to be a heavy humanitarian burden of Russia’s illegal occupation. The impunity encouraged in the cases of deprivation of lives of Davit Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria, and Archil Tatunashvili increases the risk of further violence on ethnic grounds.
Against this background, unrestricted access of international human rights bodies and the establishment of international security mechanisms on the ground, as well as access of the EU Monitoring Mission to Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, which is hampered by the occupation force, is becoming even more critical.
Against this challenging backdrop, the Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights from 21 January 2021 on the 2008 Russia-Georgia war was a pivotal event. It legally confirmed the fact of occupation and effective control over Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia by the Russian Federation. Therefore, Russia was held accountable for the blatant violations of human rights and basic freedoms on the ground. This decision, which is the first legal assessment of the 2008 Russia-Georgia War, reveals the futility of Russia’s longstanding effort to avoid legal responsibility for the illegal occupation of Georgian regions and its consequences.
Georgia unequivocally continues implementation of the policy of peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict and is determined to use the diplomatic and legal instruments and continue close cooperation with its international partners to ensure unification and peaceful development of the country, facilitate confidence building between the communities divided by the occupation line and creation of a common European future.
Georgia is grateful for the unwavering support of the international community to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and highly appreciates the contribution of international partners in the process of peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict. This support is particularly crucial today when with its military aggression against Ukraine the Russian Federation continues ignoring the fundamental principles and norms of international law and undermines the entire European security.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on the Russian Federation to cease illegal and provocative steps against Georgia, to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, to fulfill the obligations under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, to withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia and to reverse the illegal decision on recognition of the so-called independence of the occupied regions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs appeals to the international community to continue consolidated efforts for achieving peaceful conflict settlement and de-occupation of Georgian territories, the return of IDPs and refugees to their homes, and ensuring peace and security in Georgia and the region as a whole.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs extends its condolences to the families and relatives of the soldiers and civilians who died heroically in the 2008 war.