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‘Very grave’ human rights situation in separatist regions

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, March 1
Georgia’s Foreign Minister has addressed the UN Human Rights Council and informed the international community about the “very grave” human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) regions.

The Minister highlighted that despite Georgia’s peaceful initiatives Russia continued occupying of 20 percent of the Georgian land and consistently violated human rights in and near the de facto independent regions.

The Minister spoke about the important progress Georgia has achieved in terms of human rights protection over the past few years. He also focused on the Government’s human rights action plan and initiatives. The importance of involving the civil society in these processes was also highlighted, Georgia’s Foreign Ministry reports.

“Despite the Georgian government’s efforts, the humanitarian and human rights situation in both occupied regions of Georgia remains of grave concern, especially when no international monitoring mechanisms, including the UN human rights activities, are allowed in the regions,” the Minister said.

The Minister stressed that the illegally-erected barbed wire fences and other artificial obstacles along the occupation line continue to affect the everyday lives of the local population.

“These disruptive steps are directed against the Georgian government’s policy of engagement and aim at the full isolation of the occupied regions from the international community. We firmly pursue a policy of engagement, confidence-building and reconciliation with the population living in the occupied territories and stand ready to share all the benefits of the reforms introduced by the Government of Georgia,” Janelidze said, calling on the international community and the UN Human Rights Council in particular for resolute action.

Janelidze said compatriots living in the occupied territories are integral parts of Georgia’s history and future, despite the current artificial barriers.

“There will be a day when IDPs and refugees - victims of the several waves of ethnic cleansing - will return in a safe and dignified manner to their homes and fully re-integrate with their brothers and sisters, creating a vibrant society wherein human rights and individual freedoms as well as cultural and linguistic diversity are top priorities,” he said.

The 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council was held in Geneva on 27 and 28 February.