OSCE PA Passes Resolution on Georgia - "10 Years after the August War”

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Co-Operation and Security in Europe (OSCE PA) passed a final resolution at the annual session in Berlin, urging renewed efforts to resolve conflicts, with a particular focus on Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflicts.

The document, adopted by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly at the 27th annual session, contains several resolutions, among them the aforementioned regarding Georgia - "10 Years after the August War.”

The resolution, which was initiated by Georgian lawmaker Sofio Katsarava, reaffirms the full support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Georgia, within its internationally recognized borders.

It expresses deep regret that ten years after the August 2008 war, the conflict between the Russian Federation and Georgia remains unresolved and calls on Russia to fully implement the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and withdraw the Russian Federation’s military forces from Georgia’s two occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Tskhinvali).

The document expresses concern over the repeated denial of access to international and regional human rights mechanisms, including the relevant OSCE executive structures to breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali.

In addition, it expresses serious concern over the dire security and humanitarian situation and reports of discrimination based on ethnic grounds in the occupied territories of Georgia. It also reaffirms support for the fundamental rights of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees expelled from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly calls for the peaceful resolution of the Russian Federation–Georgia conflict, in line with international law and the Helsinki principles.

OSCE PA supports the policy of the Government of Georgia towards a peaceful conflict resolution, directed towards the de-occupation of said Georgian regions on the one hand, and the reconciliation and confidence-building between the communities divided by the occupation lines. It also welcomes 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 occupied regions, as well as towards fostering people-to-people contacts and confidence-building between the divided communities.

The resolution Condemns the killing of Georgian citizens – Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria and Davit Basharuli – in breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali and urges the Russian Federation to “refrain from the obstruction of a thorough investigation conducted by the Georgian authorities on both cases” with the participation of international partners, and that perpetrators are brought to justice.

In addition, the document stresses the responsibility of the Russian Federation, “as a power exercising effective control, to uphold the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all people” living in the occupied regions of Georgia and ensure the presence of international human rights monitoring mechanisms on the ground. OSCE PA urges Russia to allow the safe, dignified and unhindered return of displaced persons to their place of origin.

“We have just adopted a Berlin Declaration that we hope will serve to guide our work in the weeks, months and years ahead. We should all work to strengthen the OSCE, including by implementing its principles and communicating its messages to our governments and the people of our home countries. We must let people know the value of this organization and why it matters,” OSCE PA President George Tsereteli from Georgia said in a speech after the adoption of the Declaration.

Nearly 300 parliamentarians from 53 OSCE participating States and four Partners for Co-operation participated in the 27th Annual Session, which took place on 7-11 July at the Reichstag building in Berlin under the theme “Implementing OSCE Commitments: The Role of Parliaments.”

August 8-12 marks 10 years since the Georgia-Russia five-day war of 2008, which left Georgia’s South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions occupied by Russia, and resulted in around 170 servicemen, 14 policemen, and 228 civilians from Georgia losing their lives, with a further 1,747 wounded. The August war displaced 192,000 people in Georgia. Many were able to return to their homes after the war, but around 20,270 people still remain displaced.

Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia on August 26; in response, the Georgian government cut diplomatic relations with Russia.

By Thea Morrison

12 July 2018 20:42