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.
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.
NIKOLOZ SAMKHARADZE TO SVEN MIKSER: THIS IS MY REQUEST AND APPEAL: HOW CAN WE ELIMINATE THE TERM "SOUTH OSSETIA" FROM YOUR OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS?Thursday, 03 February 2022 17:15
"The Constitution of Georgia does not recognize the term "South Ossetia". How can you completely eliminate this phrase from your official documents? Furthermore, it is a Stalinist term, and it is not pleasant when the European Union or any of our partner countries uses the Stalinist term”, - Nikoloz Samkharadze, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, addressed to Sven Mikser, the European Parliament's rapporteur on Georgia.
The Chairman of the Committee noted that, in general, the West is fighting against Stalinist manifestations, and in contrast, the term "South Ossetia" is used in all its documents.
"This is a Stalinist term that dates back to 1922. As a result, my most humble request is that you think about this matter, and if any official adjustments are required, we will make them”, - Nikoloz Samkharadze stated.
Sven Mikser, the European Parliament's Rapporteur on Georgia, addressed the joint sitting of the European Integration and Foreign Relations Committees, after which the sitting continued in a question-and-answer session.
My visit to Georgia was eye opening, to say the least - The President of the European CouncilTuesday, 02 March 2021 13:14
Twelve years have passed since Russia invaded the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Twelve years have passed since Russia invaded the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. August 7 is a somber reminder of the thousands who have suffered and continue to suffer in the wake of Russia’s invasion. Today, we remember residents forced out of their homes and forced to live as internally displaced persons. We remember innocent civilians who died because the de facto authorities closed the Administrative Boundary Lines (ABL) and denied them access to emergency medical care. We remember families torn apart and robbed of their livelihoods by illegal “borderization” activities. As the whole world grapples with the effects of COVID-19, Georgia also suffers from the loss of trade between communities now cut off by arbitrary lines, further hampering economic recovery.
In the past year, we also witnessed a major Russian-led incursion, attempting to control hundreds of meters of additional Georgian territory at Chorchana-Tsnelisi. Russia continues to violate the conditions of the 2008 ceasefire agreement. Russian “border” guards detain civilians and use violence along the ABL, including recently shooting a Georgian citizen. Russian-led security forces continue to encroach deeper into Georgian territory, trying to expand the occupied territories meter by meter.
Russia’s responsibilities under the 2008 ceasefire agreement are clear: Russia must withdraw its forces to pre-conflict positions and allow unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. We also call again on Russia to reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It is essential for hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees to be able to return safely and with dignity to their homes. The United States' commitment to our friends and partners in Georgia remains steadfast. We stand with the people of Georgia and join them in calling for these communities, divided by Russian aggression, to be united once again.
US Embassy Tbilisi, Georgia
The Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the so-called parliamentary elections in occupied Tskhinvali region/South OssetiaTuesday, 11 June 2019 10:17
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia refers to the ongoing so-called parliamentary elections in occupied Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, which blatantly violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. Any so-called elections held in the occupied territories are illegal and cannot have any legal effect, as they are in contradiction with the fundamental norms and principles of international law.
The above so-called elections represent yet another futile attempt by Russia and its occupation regime in Tskhinvali to legitimize the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, the illegal occupation and forceful change of sovereign borders of Georgia. The so-called parliamentary elections are taking place in the context, when internally displaced persons and refuges, forcibly expelled from the occupied territories, continue to be deprived of the possibility to return to their homes, and while the people on the ground are forced to live under violations of basic human rights and freedoms. At the same time, the Russian Federation continues its military build-up, control and de-facto annexation of the occupied territories, in full disregard of the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals to the international community to give a due assessment to the ongoing so-called parliamentary elections in the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, and calls upon the Russian Federation to fulfill undertaken international obligations and withdraw its military forces from Georgia’s territory.
Monitoring rapporteurs condemn ongoing ‘borderisation’ in GeorgiaWednesday, 28 November 2018 09:34
PACE co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Georgia, Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE) and Titus Corlatean (Romania, SOC), have condemned the ongoing “borderisation” of the administrative boundary line with South Ossetia by the Russian Federation.
“These illegal actions by the Russian Federation undermine stability in the region and split families and people. We call upon the Russian authorities to cease these actions and to allow free movement of people across the administrative boundary lines with South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” said the co-rapporteurs following a recent visit to Tbilisi.
“We wish to reiterate our strong support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia and call upon the Russian Federation to fully respect its membership obligations and accession commitments to the Council of Europe in this regard, as outlined in several Assembly resolutions on the consequences of the war between Russia and Georgia,” added the co-rapporteurs.
Joint statement of the Group of Friends of Georgia 10 years since the Russian military invasion of Georgia
This statement is made on behalf of Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States of America.
We reaffirm our full support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Ten years since the Russian military invasion of Georgia, we remain deeply concerned over the continued occupation of Georgian territories and underline the need for the peaceful resolution of the conflict, based on full respect for the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and the fundamental norms and principles of international law.
We urge the Russian Federation to reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.
In the ten years since the August 2008 war, Georgia has made progress in strengthening democracy and good governance, as well as in the process of European and Euro-Atlantic integration and economic development. It is disappointing that these benefits cannot be enjoyed by the residents of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. We believe a peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict would have a transformative effect not only on Georgia but on the region as a whole.
We support the Geneva International Discussions (GID) as an important format to address the security, human rights, and humanitarian challenges stemming from the unresolved conflict.
Ten years after the establishment of the GID, we regret the lack of progress on the core issues of the discussions, including the non-use of force, establishing international security arrangements in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions aimed at providing security and stability on the ground, and ensuring the safe and dignified return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and refugees.
We call upon the Russian Federation to fully implement the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, inter alia to withdraw its forces from the occupied territories of Georgia.
We support the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) in Gali and Ergneti and encourage the participants to find proper solutions for the safety and humanitarian needs of the conflict-affected population.
We condemn the conclusion of the so-called integration and alliance treaties by the Russian Federation with Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions, which constitutes a clear violation of the principles of international law by the Russian Federation and directly contradicts OSCE commitments.
We express our deep concern over the increase of Russian military exercises and its further military build-up in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.
We condemn the gross violations of rights related to freedom of movement and residence and to property, as well as the restriction of education in one’s native language. We underline that the so-called borderization through placement of artificial obstacles and fortifying the occupation line with barbed and razor wire fences, as well as closures of socalled crossing points, further aggravates the humanitarian situation on the ground.
We condemn the killing of Georgian IDPs Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria, and Davit Basharuli, and urge the Russian Federation, as the state exercising effective control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, to remove any obstacles to bringing the perpetrators to justice.
In this context, we support preventive steps by Georgia aimed at eradication of the sense of impunity and aggravation of human rights in Georgia’s occupied regions, and we note the adoption of the Decree of the Government of Georgia on approval of the Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili list based on the relevant Resolution of the Parliament of Georgia.
We remain deeply concerned over the ethnic discrimination in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and the mass destruction of houses of Georgian IDPs, illustrations of Russia’s purposeful policy aimed at completely erasing the traces of ethnic Georgian population and cultural heritage in the occupied regions.
We support the voluntary return of IDPs and refugees to the places of their origin in safety and dignity.
We call upon the Russian Federation to enable access by international human rights monitoring mechanisms to the occupied territories of Georgia.
We commend the efficient work and contribution of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) to prevent the escalation of tensions on the ground and call upon the Russian Federation to allow the EUMM to fully implement its mandate and enable the mission’s access to Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.
We welcome Georgia’s compliance with the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and its unilateral commitment not to use force, and call on the Russian Federation to reciprocate, to affirm and implement a commitment not to use force against Georgia.
We support the new peace initiative of the Government of Georgia, ‘A Step to a Better Future’, aimed at improving the humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of people residing in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and fostering people-to-people contact and confidence building between divided communities to the benefit of all people.
We encourage the OSCE’s engagement in the process of finding a peaceful resolution to the Russia-Georgia conflict and support the implementation of confidence-building measures with an aim to rebuild trust and improve the living conditions of the conflict-affected communities.
We regret the closure of the OSCE mission to Georgia in 2009.
We encourage the OSCE participating States to agree on the opening of the OSCE cross-dimensional mission in Georgia for the benefit of the conflict-affected population, including a monitoring capacity able to operate unhindered across the occupation line. The mission will considerably strengthen the OSCE’s engagement in the GID and IPRMs, as well as in implementation of confidence-building measures.
The friends will continue to raise awareness of the conflict and the need for its peaceful resolution.
Joint statement of the Group of Friends of Georgia 10 years since the Russian military invasion of Georgia
Foreign Ministry's statement on the so-called elections in occupied Tskhinvali RegionMonday, 10 April 2017 10:50
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia condemns the so-called presidential elections and referendum that are being held on 9 April 2017 in occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Georgia. According to the international law, any so-called elections or referendum in the occupied territories of Georgia are illegal and cannot have any legal effect. This provocative act by the Russian occupation forces grossly violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and represents yet another attempt to legitimize the consequences of several waves of ethnic cleansing, military invasion and ongoing occupation of Georgian regions.
Holding the so-called referendum on changing the name of one of the oldest Georgian regions into “Republic of South Ossetia — State of Alania” that is similar to one of the federal subjects of the Russian Federation aims at laying the ground for its illegal annexation. This intention has been vividly demonstrated also by recently signed so-called agreement on incorporation of the unlawful military units of the Tskhinvali region into the armed forces of the Russian Federation.
By such provocative actions, the Russian Federation intentionally impedes the efforts of peaceful conflict resolution, including within the Geneva International Discussions and hinders the confidence building between the communities divided by occupation lines.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals to the international community to give a due assessment to the illegal so-called elections and referendum and calls upon the Russian Federation to respect the fundamental principles of international law and withdraw its military forces from the Georgian territory.