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OSCE PA adopts draft resolution on human rights in Georgia’s occupied territories

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, July 8
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Political Affairs and Security have adopted a draft resolution prepared by Georgia, “the Security and Human Rights Situation in Abkhazia, Georgia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Georgia.”

Fifty members of national delegations voted in favor of the document, initiated by the Head of the Parliamentary Delegation of Georgia, Sophio Katsarava, five opposed it, and nine others abstained from the vote.

The draft resolution mainly focuses on human rights in the occupied territories of Georgia. According to the draft resolution, OSCE PA urges Moscow to fulfill the fundamental norms and principles of international law. The document also supports Tbilisi’s policy and considers it aimed at a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Katsarava presented her draft resolution on the first day of the 28th annual session in Luxembourg. “We want the resolution to be reflected in the final declaration of Luxembourg and supported by the international society,” noted lawmaker after presenting her resolution.

The Russian Federation demanded to withdraw the resolution from the agenda of the sessions, as the Head of the British Delegation, Mark Pritchard responded, “all international organizations agree on territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia never doubting that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are the territories of Georgia.”

As the OSCE PA President, Gigi Tsereteli noted that the statements of the Russian Federation are “incredibly insolent.” According to him, everyone is once again “convinced that the international community supports Georgia.”

“Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions are part of Georgia, stop the violation of the international law by ignoring the fundamental rights of our citizens in the occupied territories. I demand the international community to support the territories of Georgia in its internationally recognized borders!” noted Sophio Katsarava while presenting her resolution at the session.

The members of the UK, Sweden and Ukraine delegations made statements supporting Georgia and urged the Russian Federation to maintain international norms and law. Pritchard, head of the British Delegation, noted that he is “glad to support this resolution - the violation of human rights in the occupied territories must stop immediately.”

Member of the Georgian delegation, Irakli Beraia talked about the importance of the draft resolution and noted that “the resolution adopted by the First Committee of the OSCE PA once again underscores the support of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The representative of the Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Vladimir Konstantinidi, noted that the adoption of the resolution represents “another proof that Georgia continues to work actively on the international level.”

As he pointed out, the document is more political than practical. However, he also noted that it is a confirmation that Georgia’s international partners are “firmly supporting our territorial integrity and de-occupation of the country.”

As for the results, according to Konstantinidi, “we should not expect a breakthrough with one specific document.” He also noted that “we do not have any illusions that Russia will fulfill such calls, but the adoption of such documents has other meaning and it is an expression of huge support towards Georgia from international partners.”

On the other hand, the Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs of Russia, Andrei Klimov, who chairs Committee of the Protection of the State Sovereignty, said the decision of the OSCE PA, which supported the resolution initiated by Georgia, might be an attempt to continue the conflict, which began in Tbilisi, referring to the protests that followed the visit of a Russian MP.

The 26-point document is about the current situation regarding human rights of locals residing in the occupied territories of Georgia. It condemns Russia’s illegal actions due to which human rights and humanitarian situation are critical in the occupied territories.

The draft resolution “urges the Russian Federation to uphold the fundamental norms and principles of international law and reverse its illegal decision on the recognition of the so-called independence of the occupied territories of Georgia.”

It also “urges the Russian Federation to remove all obstacles to ending the impunity in the cases of murder of Georgian citizens and bringing the perpetrators to justice,” etc.

The resolution adopted the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Political Affairs and Security also condemns the murder of the Georgian citizens, Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria, and Davit Basharuli. The document also covers the death of Irakli Kvaratskhelia, who committed suicide in ‘unclear circumstances’ in an interrogation room, on the territory of occupied Abkhazia.

The draft resolution also calls on Russia to respect international law principles and reverse illegal recognition of Georgia’s inseparable regions.

The issue of conflicts in Georgia is raised in several other resolutions adopted previously by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. The Assembly is the parliamentary dimension of the OSCE with 323 lawmakers from the organization’s 57 participating states.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, promotion of human rights, freedom of the press, and fair elections.