Local EU Statement on the Secretary General's 20th Consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia
The EU welcomes the Secretary General’s twentieth consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia. The EU considers important to keep this issue high on 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.
The EU expresses its regret that no progress has been made to implement the Deputies’ decisions on the conflict in Georgia, including that of 2 May 2019.
The EU reaffirms its firm support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. The EU remains highly committed to support peace building and conflict resolution in Georgia, including through its co-chairmanship of the Geneva International Discussions and the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) on the ground.
The EU strongly supports all ongoing and planned confidence-building activities of the Council of Europe, which are complementary to the efforts of the Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussions and which present unique opportunities to bring together civil society members of all parties involved. The EU will continue to support a wide range of humanitarian and human rights protection, development and other co-operation actions in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, including the new Action Plan for 2020-2023, and in partnership with international and local NGOs.
The EU does not recognize the legitimacy nor the outcome of the so-called “presidential elections” held in Abkhazia on 25 August 2019 and 8 September 2019 and the so-called „parliamentary elections” held in South Ossetia on 9 June 2019.
The EU expresses its deep concern about the continuous deterioration of the human rights and security situation in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The EU is deeply concerned over unprecedented obstacles to freedom of movement, in connection with restrictions to crossings and closures of crossing points on the administrative boundary lines (ABLs), in particular the Odzisi crossing point, which remains closed since early September 2019. This has created an extremely difficult humanitarian situation for the local population, especially for persons in need for medical assistance and students. The death on 29 October of Ms Martiashvili, who was in need of urgent medical assistance, is one of the most recent tragic examples. Together with the other Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussions, the EU calls for the immediate re-opening of all crossing points on the ABL with South Ossetia.
The EU is particularly concerned about the further measures undertaken by the de facto authorities that deepen the documentation gap. The EU calls on the de facto authorities to ensure that residents of the Georgian regions concerned are not deprived of any basic rights, such as the right to life, liberty and security, the freedom of movement and property rights, as well as access to public services, education in native language and economic activities, and are not subject to discrimination on any, including ethnic, grounds.
The EU is deeply concerned by the impunity surrounding grave human rights violations in conflict-affected areas, which continues to undermine human security perceptions and more broadly the climate of trust. The EU reiterates its call for a proper investigation into the tragic deaths of Georgian nationals Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria and Irakli Kvaratskhelia and for justice to be administered.
The EU reiterates its strong condemnation for the decision taken by the de facto authorities in Abkhazia on 4 April 2019 to introduce death penalty under certain circumstances for drug-related crimes.
The EU remains profoundly concerned by the lack of progress and reports of ongoing violations of human rights in other areas, including arbitrary detentions, unprecedented restrictions on freedom of movement, on-going installation of razor and barbed wire fences and other artificial barriers on residents’ property, dividing families and communities and resulting in the growing numbers of IDPs, as well as restrictions on access to education in one’s native language in both entities.
The EU regrets the failure to address the issues of refugees and displaced persons in the Geneva International Discussions. The EU recalls that this topic is at the core of the mandate of the Geneva International Discussions. The EU further notes the UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/73/298 adopted on 4 June 2019 on the Status of internally displaced persons and refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia, and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia.
The EU strongly supports the calls by the Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussions to resume the regular meetings of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) in Gali without delay and any pre-conditions and to resume fully the regular IPRM meetings in Ergneti.
The EU reiterates its support to the Georgian Peace Initiative “A step to a better future”, aimed at facilitating trade, education and mobility across the ABLs. We support all initiatives aimed at building bridges across the ABLs and addressing humanitarian challenges.
The EU reiterates its concern about the continuing Russian illegal military presence, increased military exercises, infrastructure reinforcements and "borderization" activities in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The EU condemns the implementation of the so-called treaties and deriving agreements.
The EU calls on the Russian Federation to fully implement the 12 August 2008 agreement and the Implementing Measures of 8 September 2008, and to provide the EU Monitoring Mission with access to the whole territory of Georgia.
The EU regrets that the delegation of the Secretariat, the monitoring bodies and the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner have not been granted access to the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and calls on the authorities exercising effective control to facilitate access to these regions for the relevant bodies of the Council of Europe.
The following countries align with this statement: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, Norway, San Marino and Ukraine.