The Council of Europe Ministers’ Deputies reviewed the CoE Secretary General’s 23rd Consolidated Report on Conflict in Georgia on 14 April, 2021. The Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Lasha Darsalia participated in the meeting.
The 23rd consolidated report covers the security, human rights and humanitarian situation in Georgia’s conflict-affected areas during the period between October 2020 and March
During the period under review, the so-called “borderisation” process was continuing; the presence of armed units in the Chorchana-Tsnelisi region represents a serious danger for stability; the report refers to a rise in illegal detentions and to the case of Zaza Gakheladze, who was injured and subsequently illegally detained by the Russian occupation forces and then his imprisonment was prolonged by 12 years.
The Report underlines the need to investigate the cases of Giga Okhtozoria, David Basharuli, Archil Tatunashvili, Irakli Kvaratskhelia and Inal Jabiev and says that no progress had been achieved in this regard.
According to the Report, the humanitarian situation in the occupied regions, especially in the Gali and Akhalgori districts is particularly difficult. The report expresses concern with regard to the right to life, the right to freedom of movement, the right to property, the right to education in the native language and the right to liberty and security. Restrictions on access to education in the native language are widely seen as a form of ethnic discrimination by the Government of Georgia, as well as a number of international interlocutors.
The restriction of free movement continues to impact the access of local residents
to medical facilities and means of subsistence.
The report pays special attention to the Georgian Government’s peace initiatives and efforts to enable urgent medical evacuations and treatment of COVID-19 patients.
While reviewing the CoE Secretary General’s 23rd Consolidated Report on Conflict in Georgia, the Deputy Foreign Minister, Lasha Darsalia updated the attending audience on the difficult security, human rights and humanitarian situation in Georgia’s occupied territories. According to Darsalia, a key to solving the security, human rights and humanitarian challenges lies in de-occupation of the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, as envisaged by the EU-brokered 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, which has been disregarded by Russia since its signature.
Speaking about the serious human rights violations in Georgia’s occupied territories, which has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions, Lasha Darsalia focused his attention on the tragic death of four citizens of the Gali district when they were attempting to cross the Enguri River and emphasized the critical importance of detaching the humanitarian and human rights issues from the political agenda. The Deputy Minister condemned the occupation regime’s recent decision to prolong the illegal detention of Zaza Gakheladze for more than 12 years, in violation of the 12 August 2008 ceasefire agreement. According to Lasha Darsalia, the existing situation points to the importance of the Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili List as a step towards avoiding human rights violations in the Russian-occupied territories.
According to the Deputy Foreign Minister, the full responsibility for the security, humanitarian and human rights situation in the occupied regions rests with the Russian Federation. In this light, Lasha Darsalia took note of the judgment delivered by the European Court of Human Rights in the Georgia v. Russia inter-state case, which holds Russia accountable for the violation of international law norms and fundamental human rights during the August 2008 war, as well as for the occupation of and effective control over the Georgian territories.
Lasha Darsalia highlighted that Georgia remains committed to the Geneva International Discussions and to the effective of meetings under the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms.
Lasha Darsalia paid special attention to the Georgian Government’s engagement policy, as well as its efforts to assist the conflict-affected population in the Russian-occupied territories of Georgia, including immediately after the outbreak of the pandemic.
Speaking from the Council of Europe tribune, the Georgian side called on Russia to end human rights violations in both occupied regions of Georgia, to provide human rights and international security mechanisms with access to the occupied regions, to withdraw troops from the Georgian territories and comply with its international obligations. In this context, Lasha Darsalia highlighted the importance of the international community’s support.
EU and GUAM issued statements in support for the Secretary General's 23rd consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes the Secretary General's 23rd consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia and highlights the importance of keeping this issue on the Council of Europe’s political agenda.