The European Union and its member states welcomed on November 25 the release of the 22nd consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia filed by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE).
The EU highlighted the importance of keeping the issue “high on the political agenda of CoE,” encouraging the Secretary General to continue submitting reports, which, among others, cover the question of human rights protection in the areas affected by the conflict in Georgia.
The European Union expressed regret that no progress was made to implement the decision adopted by the CoE Committee of Ministers, convened at the Deputy level, on October 21.
Expressing concern over the “continuous deterioration of the human rights and security situation” in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, the EU stated that the closure of the crossing points between the occupied territories and Georgia proper severely affect the security, safety and well-being of the local population, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the statement, the European Union called for the release of all the persons, including Georgian citizen Zaza Gakheladze, detained by the Kremlin-backed authorities and underscored the need for a proper investigation and for justice to be served regarding the deaths of Giga Otkhozoria, Archil Tatunashvili and Irakli Kvaratskhelia.
The 27-member bloc also took note of Russian military presence in the occupied regions, the recent “Kavkaz 2020” military drills, continued “borderization” activities, as well as intensified discrimination against ethnic Georgians in both, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, related to restrictions on freedom of movement, residence, work and property rights and access to services and education in their native languages.
The statement reiterated the EU’s commitment to supporting peacebuilding and conflict resolution, through engaging in the Geneva International Discussions (GID), as well as in the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) and through the work of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM). The European Union called for the resumption of GID without further delays, and welcomed the scheduled December 10-11 meeting.
“We reiterate our unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders,” the statement underscored, calling on Russia to fulfill its obligations under the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.