A group of twelve Georgian human rights organizations has addressed the Council of Europe (CoE) Commissionaire for Human Rights, Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), and International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), over the “deteriorating human rights situation” in the occupied territories of Georgia.
In a joint statement released on November 27, the group asked for the active emergency measures in response to “pending regrettable developments” in Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, including the detention of a Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili.
The group, which among others includes Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC), Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF), and Georgia’s Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), said “the lack of political and legal resolution of the prolonged conflicts strongly challenged the protection of human rights in and nearby conflict areas.”
“Usually, these difficulties arise from time to time on a top political agenda, but in most cases, day-to-day problems and deprivation from basic human needs and rights are invisible, left beyond any emergency measures and attention,” they said, noting that challenges “become more critical due to the lack of access to international human rights monitoring mechanisms.”
The group also touched upon the issue of ‘borderization.’ They said ‘borderization’ that has affected the residents of the villages located nearby the occupation line, aims at “total isolation of occupied territories from Georgia,” further noting that “the ‘borderization’ process and the practice of arbitrary closure crossing points obstructed economic and social communications between the communities living in and outside of occupied zones.”
The CSOs said they witnessed number of “critical problems” caused by the closure of crossing points, including access to basic goods and services, urgent medical care, pensions, and education. The group said the arbitrary restriction of freedom of movement also “disrupts family relationships and unions.”
The statement also reads that “the tragic death of Margo Martiashvili, local from the village Ikoti in Akhalgori region appeared as an alarm sign which indicates the harsh humanitarian and social conditions, in which persons across occupation line live throughout the last 3 months.”
“The closure of crossing points and extreme restriction of movement hinders the peacebuilding and trust-building process among the communities and deepens the isolation. Therefore, the problem is beyond human rights violations and has a destructive impact on the whole peace process,” they added.
Therefore, the Georgian CSOs call for the “international authoritative actors” to “return these negative processes into the status quo and to take further measures for the improvement of human rights conditions” under their respective mandates, among others, by requesting urgent and effective measures for the restoration of freedom of movement, as well as by applying to all diplomatic and political mechanisms for the timely release of Vazha Gaprindashvili.