Delegation of the European Union to the Council of Europe

EU Statement on the Secretary General's 24th consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia

Brussels, 10/11/2021 - 18:14, UNIQUE ID: 211110_12
Statements on behalf of the EU

1417th Meeting of the Committee of Ministers (10 November 2021)

  1.  The European Union welcomes the Secretary General’s twenty-fourth consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia. The EU remains convinced of the importance of this issue for the political agenda of the Council of Europe and encourages the Secretary General to continue the submission of such reports covering, inter alia, the question of human rights protection in the areas affected by the conflict in Georgia.
     
  2. The EU expresses its deep regret that no progress has been made to implement the Deputies’ decisions on the conflict in Georgia, including the latest one adopted on 12 May 2021, and calls for their implementation without further delay.
     
  3. The EU reiterates its grave concern about the continuing Russian illegal military presence in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We condemn the organisation of illegal polling stations in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia for the Russian State Duma elections held on 17-19 September 2021. 
     
  4. We recall the landmark judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 21 January 2021 in the case of Georgia v. Russia (II). The ruling clearly concludes that after 12 August 2008 the Russian Federation, exercising effective control over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, violated several provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. 
     
  5. The EU reiterates its call upon the Russian Federation to ensure proper follow-up of the ruling, including, as foreseen in the ruling itself, through an adequate and effective investigation into the events which had occurred during the active phase of hostilities, as well as after their cessation, and to hold all those responsible for human rights violations accountable.
     
  6. The EU deplores the continuous deterioration of the human rights and security situation in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The ongoing violations of the freedom of movement severely affect the security, safety and well-being of the local population. We welcome the reopening of the “crossing points” in Abkhazia, though we regret the restrictions imposed on the day of the local elections, and call for the immediate reopening of those in South Ossetia and for the release of all those illegally detained along the ABLs without delay.
     
  7. The EU denounces continuous discrimination of Georgians on the grounds of ethnicity in both Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We remain concerned about various restrictions on freedom of movement, residence rights, work and property rights, as well as access to services and education in one’s native language in both entities. We condemn Russia's illegal decision to sign the so-called agreement on dual citizenship with Tskhinvali on 20 September 2021, as well as the unilateral delineation of the state border between Georgia and Russia on segments of the Georgian territories and to modify the cadastral map of the Russian Federation to include the village of Aibgha in the municipality of Gagra in Abkhazia. These are destabilizing actions and a step towards de facto annexation of the Georgian territories.
     
  8. We welcome the Georgian government’s commitment to peace policy and continued efforts aimed at launching an inclusive process of elaboration of the “State Strategy for De-Occupation and Peaceful Conflict Resolution”. The EU encouraged increased efforts in addressing the fate of missing persons with a view to giving closure. 
     
  9. Tensions in the Chorchana-Tsnelisi area continue to be worrying. We deplore ongoing "borderisation" activities along the ABL – installation of barbed-wire fences, artificial barriers and surveillance equipment, and refurbishing of existing structures – and urge to discontinue them immediately. 
     
  10. The EU remains deeply concerned by the impunity surrounding grave human rights violations in conflict-affected areas, which continue to undermine human security. The EU reiterates its call for a proper investigation into the tragic deaths of Georgian nationals Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria, David Basharuli, Irakli Kvaratskhelia and Inal Jabiev and for justice to be delivered. We also call for the immediate release of Irakli Bebua who was illegally sentenced to nine years of imprisonment in December 2020 and needs continued medical care. The EU deeply regrets that no progress could be reported regarding voluntary, safe, dignified and unhindered return of internally displaced persons and refugees based on internationally recognized principles.
     
  11. The EU remains highly committed to supporting peace building and conflict resolution in Georgia. The Geneva International Discussions (GID) remain the key international platform in this regard. We will continue our engagement in the GID, as well as the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) and through the work of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) ), which remains the only international presence on the ground. 
     
  12. We also support Council of Europe Confidence-Building Measures and encourage their continuation.
     
  13. We regret once again that monitoring bodies of the Council of Europe and its Human Rights Commissioner have not been granted access to the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
     
  14. In conclusion, we reiterate our unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. We once again urge Russia to fulfil its obligations under the EU-mediated ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 and its subsequent implementing measures of 8 September 2008.

The following countries align with this statement: Albania, Andorra, Georgia, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, San Marino, United Kingdom and Ukraine.
 

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