UN Security Council Members Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, and incoming Security Council Member Albania have released a joint statement on the conflict between Russia and Georgia, started 13 years ago on August 7.
"This week marks 13 years since the beginning of the conflict between Russia and Georgia on 7 August 2008. We reaffirm our unwavering support for Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. We regret that the territorial integrity of Georgia continues to be violated by the Russian Federation. We condemn Russia’s illegal military presence and exercising of control over Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, integral parts of Georgia, and its steps toward annexation of these Georgian regions. Russia’s actions are in clear violation of international law.
We condemn Russia’s continuous provocations, which have continued despite the ongoing pandemic – reinforced military presence and military exercises on Georgia’s territory, intensified borderisation process, arbitrary detentions, kidnappings of members of the local population, restriction of freedom of movement and lengthy closures of the Administrative-Boundary Lines (ABL), discrimination against ethnic Georgians in Gali and Akhalgori districts, and prohibition on education in residents’ native language. We call for the immediate release of Irakli Bebua and other citizens of Georgia still unjustly held in detention.
We recall the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights on January 21, 2021, that has stated that as in effective control of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russia has been responsible for grave human rights violations including the killing of civilians, torture of prisoners of war, inhuman and degrading treatment, preventing Georgians from returning to their homes, and failure to conduct investigations in to human rights violations.
We remain deeply worried that in the past several years no international human rights monitoring mechanism has been granted unrestricted access to the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We therefore call for immediate unhindered access to be granted to the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and other international and regional human rights mechanisms.
We recall the urgent need for unimpeded humanitarian access to all civilians in need. The conditions for a safe, voluntary, dignified and unhindered return of internally displaced people and refugees must be created.
We express support for the Geneva International Discussions (GID) and the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) as important formats to address the security, humanitarian and human rights challenges stemming from the unresolved Russia-Georgia conflict. We stress the necessity of resuming meetings in Gali without further delay or pre-conditions.
We stress the necessity of a peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict based on international law, including the UN Charter, and the Helsinki Final Act.
Today we call once again on the Russian Federation to fully implement its obligation and commitments under the Agreements of 12 August and its subsequent implementing measures of 8 September 2008 and withdraw its military and security forces without delay and reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of Georgia’s territories Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, and not to impede the creation of an international security mechanism", the statemnet reads.
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