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UN General Assembly Passes Georgia IDP Resolution (updated)

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The United Nations General Assembly adopted on June 4 a 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 79 in favor, 15 against, and 57 abstentions. Alongside Georgia, which initiated the resolution since 2008, it has been co-sponsored by 44 other states.

Similar non-binding resolutions have been passed by the UN General Assembly for twelve 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 2018, 81 countries voted in favor, 16 against, with 62 abstentions.

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: Belarus; Burundi; Comoros; Cuba; North Korea; Laos; Myanmar; Nauru; Nicaragua; Sudan; Syria (did not show up to vote last year); Venezuela, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Panama and Singapore switched their positions from abstention to support.

Saudi Arabia, and San Tome-Principe switched their position from support to abstention.

Liberia, as well as Antigua and Barbuda which supported the resolution last year, did not show up.

In its official statement, Permanent Representation of Georgia to the United Nations stressed, that

“for the first time this year United Nations Member States were given the opportunity to co-sponsor the Resolution and thus participate more actively in a global effort to resolve this important issue. “

According to the Minstry, the Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations, Ambassador Kaha Imnadze “emphasized that security and human rights situation inside the occupied Georgian territories remains extremely alarming.”

He spoke of the “kidnappings, arbitrary detentions, seizure of property, as well as continued discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin including severe restrictions on free movement and residence, and access to education in their native language.”

He also referred to the UN Secretary-General’s latest report, referring to “tragic loss of life” of the Georgians “in detention by the occupying power”, referring to cases of Giga Otkhozoria, Archil Tatunashvili, Irakli Kvaratskhelia and David Basharauli.

Georgian MFA said, it will

“continue its effort on the international arena to protect the fundamental rights of IDPs and refugees who were displaced as a result of ethnic cleansing, as this issue, that implies the full de-occupation of Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions and ensuring the safe and dignified return of the internally displaced persons, is and will continue to be the main priority of Georgian Government until its final resolution.”

This story was updated from its original version to include the Georgian Foreign Ministry statement.

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