The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted on March 24 a resolution titled “Cooperation with Georgia,” highlighting the “deteriorated” human rights situation in the Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.
The resolution was passed after the 46th session, held in Geneva throughout February 22-March 23, with 19 votes in favor, 8 against and 19 abstentions.
The Council expressed concern over the “continued process of installation and advancement of barbed wire fences and different artificial barriers” by the occupying forces along the dividing lines with Georgia proper.
Moreover, the resolution stressed with concern that “the prolonged closure of the so-called crossing points and the increasing restrictions on freedom of movement, particularly the denial of medical evacuations by the authorities exercising effective control in both regions,” has contributed to a number of deaths and further aggravated the humanitarian and socio-economic situation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UNHRC further voiced concern over “reported discrimination against ethnic Georgians,” infringements of the right to life, the right to liberty and security, as well as kidnappings, restrictions on access to education in the Georgian language, and “the continued practice” of demolishing the ruins of the houses that belonged to internally displaced persons.
The Council said the IDPs “continue to be deprived of the right to return to their homes” in both Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.
The resolution also highlighted “lack of accountability for unlawful killings of ethnic Georgians committed in the period from 2014 and 2019, which continues to contribute to impunity” in the occupied regions.
Meanwhile, the UNHRC appreciated the Georgian government’s efforts to strengthen democracy, rule of law and the promotion and protection of human rights.
The resolution also demanded “immediate and unimpeded access” to the occupied regions to be given to the Office of the High Commissioner and regional human rights mechanisms.
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani noted that the annual resolution took into account the January 21 European Court of Human Rights verdict in the 2008 Russo-Georgian war case, and mentioned “for the first time” that Russia exercises effective control over the two occupied regions.
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