25 Mar 2018 - 14:30
Representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland and Australia have supported a resolution boosting cooperation with Georgia at the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council.
Reiterating their firm support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders, the countries condemned human rights violations in Georgia’s Russian occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).
Further condemning the opening of polling stations in occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali for the Russian presidential elections last week, Australia commended Georgia for its willingness to address challenges and strengthen its national human rights protection system, including through continued cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights through his office in Tbilisi.
The resolution seeks immediate access for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and international and regional human rights mechanisms to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It is appropriate for Georgia to put forward such a resolution, since these regions are integral parts of Georgia", the Australian representative said.
Switzerland called on all the stakeholders involved to ensure improvement in the human rights situation in the occupied regions.
Switzerland exercises a mandate of protective power in the region between Russia and Georgia and is involved in various dialogues as a facilitator. Switzerland will spare no effort to improve the security and humanitarian situation in the region promoting the respect of human rights in cooperation with the parties to the conflict”, the Swiss representatives said, calling for respect for human rights throughout the Georgian territory.
Supporting the resolution, the UK representative said that alleged human rights violations in the occupied regions, including illegal detention, torture and restricted freedom of movement should be a matter of concern to everyone.
This resolution is about access, it is about cooperation…The council should always support cooperation with UN human rights mechanisms,” the UK representative said, stressing that given the highly troubling reports of violations in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, independent monitoring and reporting is clearly needed.
According to the US representative, it is important for the council to support member states when they request technical assistance and capacity building within their territories.
Along with reporting on the human rights situation, the Government of Georgia is cooperating closely with the OHCHR to improve the human rights situation in their country. At the same time, de-facto authorities in the Russian occupied territories of Georgia continue to deny any access to OHCHR while there are reports of widespread abuses of rights in these territories”, the US representative said.
The Human Rights Council adopted the first resolution on cooperation with Georgia last year.
Georgia has been a member of the council since 2016.