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Autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Photo: facebook.com/ParliamentaryAssembly

PACE Resolution Calls for ‘Unlimited Access’ of Human Rights Monitors to Abkhazia, S.Ossetia

In a resolution adopted on October 10, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called for allowing “unlimited access” of international human rights monitoring mechanisms to the “grey zones” – “territories of States that are under the control of de facto authorities” – including Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.

The resolution, based on the report of Frank Schwabe (Germany, SOC), was adopted with 39 votes in favor, 6 against and 4 abstention, at the PACE Autumn Session, which was convened in Strasbourg on October 8-12.

According to the resolution, PACE welcomes the visit by the CoE’s European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) to Abkhazia, and encourages “the de facto authorities of South Ossetia” to follow suit.

The document also underscores that human rights monitoring in the “grey zones,” including contacts of the monitoring organizations with local authorities, “do not constitute and should not be presented as recognition of those authorities’ legitimacy under international law.”

PACE also stresses that cooperating with international human rights monitoring mechanisms is a duty for “local de facto authorities,” and calls on the states exercising “effective control over territories where local de facto authorities operate to exercise their influence so as to enable effective monitoring by international human rights bodies.”

For background, we recommend reading the CoE Secretary General’s most recent Consolidated Report on the Conflict in Georgia.

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