The UN General Assembly has adopted the Resolution on „Status of Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Georgia” that was initiated by Georgia and 44 sponsoring states. The Resolution was adopted within the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly on June 4.
The General Assembly has been adopting the Resolution consecutively since 2008, reaffirming the fundamental rights of forcefully displaced persons, first and foremost their right of voluntary, safe and dignified return to their homes.
For the first time this year, United Nations Member States were given the opportunity to co-sponsor the Resolution and thus participate more actively in a global effort to resolve this important issue. The resolution was joined by 45 UN Member States from different regions. Therefore, the Resolution represents the initiative of not only Georgia but of 45 countries.
“The Resolution condemns the forced demographic changes in the occupied regions, emphasizes the right of all internally displaced persons and refugees, regardless of their ethnicity, to a safe and dignified return to their places of origin, and focuses upon the need to fully respect and protect their property rights. The Resolution reiterates the importance of unimpeded humanitarian access in the regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region.
Apart from the humanitarian context, the Resolution has a practical significance as it tasks the UN Secretary-General to prepare an annual report on the situation of internally displaced persons residing in Georgia as well as on the implementation of this resolution. The above-mentioned has even greater importance in the light of the deploring human right situation in the occupied territories in the absence of international human rights monitoring mechanisms, which constitutes one of the impediments to the safe and dignified return of forcefully displaced persons.
The Resolution calls upon the participants of the Geneva International Discussions to reinvigorate their efforts to ensure security and human rights protection in the occupied regions, which in turn will facilitate the return of IDPs and refugees to their homes.
During the presentation of the Resolution, the Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations, H.E. Kaha Imnadze stressed that the resolution is based on the Guiding Principles of Internal Displacement. Mr. Imnadze also emphasized that security and human rights situation inside the occupied Georgian territories remains extremely alarming. People endure kidnappings, arbitrary detentions, seizure of property, as well as continued discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin including severe restrictions on free movement and residence, and access to education in their native language. Ambassador also stressed that it is heartbreaking to see the Secretary-General’s latest report referring to “tragic loss of life” of the Georgian IDPs while in detention by the occupying power. Such cases are far too often and far too many: Basharuli, Otkhozoria, Tatunashvili, Kvaratskhelia.
During the session the supporting statements were delivered by: Permanent Representative of Ukraine on behalf of the GUAM; Nordic-Baltic States were represented by Permanent Representative of Lithuania, whereas Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia aligned themselves with the statement. In a national capacity, the statements were delivered by the representatives of USA, Canada, United Kingdom and Ukraine.