The United Nations General Assembly adopted on June 12 Georgia-sponsored resolution reiterating the right of return of all displaced persons and refugees to Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia by a vote of 81 in favor to 16 against, with 62 abstentions.
Similar non-binding resolutions have been passed by the UN General Assembly for eleven years in a row – the first one, initiated in 2008, was in respect of Abkhazia and all the following ones in respect of both Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.
In 2017, 80 countries voted in favor to 14 against, with 61 abstentions.
Along with the Russian Federation, the following countries voted against the resolution this year: Armenia; Belarus; Burundi; Cuba; North Korea (skipped last year), Laos; Myanmar (abstained last year); Nauru; Nicaragua; Philippines; South Sudan; Sudan (skipped last year); Venezuela, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
Syria, which voted against last year, was absent from the Assembly chambers and did not vote in 2018.
Dominican Republic and Macedonia have switched their positions from abstention to support, while Djibouti, Kiribati and Swaziland, which were absent last year, voted for the resolution in 2018.
Central African Republic and Panama, which voted for the resolution last time, abstained this year, while Mauritius and Palau, which voted for the resolution last time, skipped voting in 2018.
UN General Assembly Resolution on “Status of IDPs and refugees from #Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, #Georgia” adopted wiht 81 votes in favour. Thank you to all our supporters.#IDPs #RighttoReturn #SustainingPeace #UNGA72 pic.twitter.com/uAUhg2tWbe
— Elene Agladze (@eleneagladze) June 12, 2018
The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed in its statement after the voting that the resolution “reinforces the fundamental rights of the displaced, primarily, their right to safe, voluntary and dignified return.”
The resolution, according to the Ministry, “bears purely humanitarian nature and rests on the fundamental UN principles of internal displacement – it condemns the forceful demographic changes in Georgia’s occupied regions, reiterates the right of the displaced persons to safe and dignified return, regardless of their ethnicity, and underlines the necessity of respecting and protecting their property rights.”
“The resolution has a practical importance as well, since it calls on the UN Secretary General to draft annual report on the state of the internally displaced persons in Georgia and on the implementation of the resolution,” the Ministry also noted.