CoE Approves 19th Consolidated Report ‘Conflict in Georgia’

The Secretary General’s 19th Consolidated Report on the Conflict in Georgia was discussed during the 1344th meeting of the Committee of Ministers Deputies of the Council of Europe (CoE) on April 24.

The report covers the period from October 2018 to March 2019 and concerns the difficult situation in terms of human rights on the occupied territories of Georgia during the reporting period.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Lasha Darsalia delivered a speech at the session, paying special attention to the occupied territories, installation of barbed wire fences and other illegal processes of raising artificial barriers along the occupational line. He noted that such actions affect the daily lives of the local population and deprive them of fundamental rights such as freedom of movement, property, rights to education in the native language and more.

Darsalia informed the Committee about the death of Georgian citizen Irakli Kvaratskhelia on the Russian military base in the occupied Abkhazia region in uncertain circumstances, noting this “indicates once again that it is necessary to consolidate efforts to end the violations of human rights in the occupied territories and put an end to impunity.”

He also spoke about the support received for the "Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili List" and the necessity of imposing sanctions on the persons included there in order to prevent further gross violations of human rights and ethnic violence in Georgia's occupied regions.

He also called upon the Russian Federation to comply with the fundamental principles and norms of international law and the 12 August ceasefire agreement.

The Deputy Minister focused on the pressure put on victims of the occupation regime in Akhalgori district; on activist Tamar Mearakishvili living there and the discrimination on ethnic grounds, which clearly demonstrates the difficult situation of human rights in the occupied territories. Taking into consideration the situation on the territories, he underlined the need for immediate responses from the international community and the need to introduce international observation mechanisms on site.

Darsalia informed the Committee of Deputies Ministers of the so-called “law” made by the Sokhumi occupation regime that envisages the death penalty for large quantities of drug export, import and / or transit.

Attention was also put on the steps taken by the Georgian authorities towards peaceful resolution of the conflict. The importance of the Geneva International Discussions was underlined in this process. The Deputy Minister also spoke extensively about the Georgian government’s steps towards a confidence-building engagement policy.

During the review of the Conflict in Georgia Report, statements in support of Georgia were made on behalf of the EU and GUAM. The European Union expressed regret over the failure to comply with the decisions within the agenda of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers' Deputies "Council of Europe and Conflict in Georgia," including the decision of 2 May 2018. The EU expressed concern about the illegal presence of Russian military units in the occupied regions and enlarged military exercises and the restriction of free movement. The closing of so-called crossing points for unprecedented periods was especially marked as having caused the local population particularly serious humanitarian difficulties. The EU statement also expressed concern over the fact that in the frames of the Geneva International Discussions, Russia and the participants from Sokhumi and Tskhinvali are not participating in the discussion of IDP issues.

The European Union supports the co-chairs' appeal for the Geneva International Talks to resume the Gali Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings immediately and unconditionally. The EU also expressed its concern over the impunity facts following rough violations of human rights in the occupied territories and called upon Georgia to investigate the tragic deaths of Georgian citizens properly and to enforce justice. The EU also calls upon the Russian Federation to unconditionally and fully fulfill all the provisions of the August 12, 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and ensure unrestricted access for the EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia's occupied territories.

A statement was also made on behalf of GUAM expressing concern about the situation in Georgia's occupied territories in terms of the human rights situation.

The Permanent Representatives of the Council of Europe member states also spoke at the hearing, supporting the continued practice of consolidated reports in future.

By Mariam Merabishvili

Image source: Ministry of foreign affairs of Georgia

25 April 2019 22:19