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Georgia in the OSCE PA’s Luxembourg Declaration

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s annual session in Luxembourg adopted a final declaration on July 8, containing more than a dozen of non-binding resolutions on issues ranging from political affairs, security, economics, environment and human rights.

In its introductory chapter on Political Affairs and Security, the Luxembourg Declaration encourages “the intensification of result-oriented talks in the framework of the agreed formats for conflict resolution,” and calls on the parties to conflicts “to engage in negotiations in good faith without preconditions for achieving comprehensive and long-lasting peace, in full respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and the Republic of Moldova.”

The resolution on the Security and Human Rights Situation in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, sponsored by MP Sofio Katsarava, who was elected as the Chair of OSCE PA Committee on Economic Affairs, condemns the Russian Federation’s “illegal occupation and steps towards de facto annexation” of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali regions and stresses Moscow’s primary responsibility, as the power exercising effective control, “for grave violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the ground.”

In this resolution, the Assembly strongly condemns “the deterioration of security, human rights and the humanitarian situation in the occupied territories of Georgia due to the Russian Federation’s illegal actions, including intensified military build-up and military exercises, installation of razor wire fences and artificial barriers along the occupation line, ethnic discrimination” against Georgians residing in both regions, among them:

  • Proven instances of murder, torture, ill treatment, kidnapping and illegal detentions,
  • Restrictions on rights related to freedom of movement and residence, housing, land and property,
  • Prohibition of education in native Georgian language,
  • Introduction of the death penalty in the occupied Abkhazia in violation of the fundamental right to life.

“Strongly condemning the murder of Georgian citizens – Archil TatunashviliGiga Otkhozoria and Davit Basharuli  – by representatives of the Russian occupation regimes in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali,” and the recent death of Irakli Kvaratskhelia, “at the Russian military base illegally stationed in the occupied Abkhazia,” the Assembly reaffirms support “for the fundamental rights of hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees expelled following the multiple waves of ethnic cleansing” from both regions, “to return to their places of origin in safety and dignity.”

Georgian MP Giorgi Tsereteli, who was re-elected as the OSCE PA President for 2019-2020, also spoke on Georgia in his opening remarks on July 4, saying “we are witnessing more aggravated violations of human rights in Georgia’s occupied territories,” which “requires effective international action.”

However, the Head of Russian delegation Petr Tolstoi voiced his objection upon introduction of the resolution on Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region on July 4, saying “South Ossetia is the former region of Georgia, which following the attack of the authorities from Tbilisi left this country and will undoubtedly never return, just like Abkhazia.” He then said, Moscow’s recognition of the two regions is “fully in line with the international law.”

Moscow-backed ‘foreign ministries’ in Tskhinvali and Sokhumi echoed the Russian position, denying being under Russian occupation, accusing Georgia of military aggression against the two regions instead, and claiming that Russia’s recognition of their independence “fully reflects” their own will.

The Assembly is the parliamentary dimension of the OSCE with 323 lawmakers from the organization’s 57 participating states, including Russia. Its annual session in Luxembourg was convened on July 4-8, with calls for strengthening multilateral institutions to protect democracy, promote security and advance sustainable development.

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