Joint Statement by UN Security Council Members following an AOB on Georgia: Delivered by H.E. Ambassador by H.E. Ferit Hoxha

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 August 10, 2023

I am speaking on behalf of the UN Security Council Members France, Japan, Malta, United Kingdom, United States, and my own country Albania.

Fifteen years have passed since Russia’s full-scale military aggression against and subsequent illegal military presence in 20 percent of Georgia’s sovereign territory. The Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008 marked a more aggressive trend in Russia’s policy regarding its neighboring countries and the European security architecture. As we are witnessing in Ukraine today, Russia has continued down this path.

We are resolute in our reaffirmation of Georgia’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

We deplore the continuous blatant violation of the territorial integrity of Georgia by the Russian Federation.

We condemn Russia’s brutal invasion, continued military presence and exercising of effective control over Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, which are integral parts of Georgia, and Russia’s steps toward annexation of these Georgian regions.

We reiterate our condemnation of Russia’s continuous provocations, which go in parallel with the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine – the continued military drills in Georgia’s territory, territorial sea, and airspace; the enhanced so-called “borderisation” process by erecting barbed wire fences and other artificial barriers; unlawful detentions and abductions of the local population; interference with freedom of movement and persistent closures of so-called crossing points; discrimination against ethnic Georgians, and prohibition on education in residents’ native language, and deliberate damage to Georgian cultural heritage.

We condemn the killings of Georgian citizens Davit Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria and Archil Tatunashvili, whose perpetrators have not yet been brought to justice and held accountable.

We recall further the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on 21 January 2021, which has stated that given Russia is in effective control of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, it is responsible for grave human rights violations including the killing of civilians, torture of prisoners of war, inhumane and degrading treatment, preventing Georgians from returning to their homes, and failure to conduct investigations into human rights violations.

We recall another judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on 7 of March 2023 confirming the effective control of the Russian Federation over Abkhazia, Georgia even before the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008 and its full responsibility for human rights violations in Georgia’s regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia.

We recall the April 2023 adopted decision of the ECHR, which ordered the Russian Federation to pay up to 130 million euros in favor of conflict-affected Georgian citizens.

We further emphasize the issuance of arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court for war crimes committed against civilians perceived to be ethnically Georgian during Russia’s invasion in 2008 and its aftermath and take note of the alleged role of Russian military officials.

We remain deeply worried that in the past several years no international human rights monitoring mechanism has been granted access to the regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/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, as well as to the EU Monitoring Mission.

We recall the urgent need for unhindered humanitarian access to all persons in need. We stress the necessity of ensuring the rights of internally displaced persons and refugees, expelled forcibly due to multiple waves of atrocities, and allowing for a safe, voluntary, dignified, and unhindered return to their homes.

We remain committed to the Geneva International Discussions (GID), which is the sole format to ensure implementation of Russia’s international obligations under the Ceasefire Agreement of 12 August 2008 to withdraw its forces to pre-conflict positions, as well as its commitments to allow unhindered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and not to impede creation of international security arrangements on the ground, inter alia of the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and return of IDPs and refugees to their homes. We support the continued meetings of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) in Ergneti, most recently on 3 July, and stress the necessity of immediate resumption of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism in Gali without preconditions and functioning of both mechanisms according to the founding principles and ground rules.

We stress the necessity of a peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict based on international law, including the UN Charter, and on the Helsinki Final Act, also noting the context of Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine.

Today, we call once again on the Russian Federation to fully implement its obligations and commitments under the EU-mediated Ceasefire Agreement of 12 August 2008 and withdraw its military and security forces from the territory of Georgia without delay.

We reiterate our 15 years old call to Russia to reverse the recognition of the so-called independence of Georgia’s regions of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, not to impede the creation of an international security mechanism, and to allow access of international human rights and humanitarian organizations to both regions.

Thank you.




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