Ethnic discrimination against Georgian nationals living in the Russian-occupied Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) was in focus of the latest international discussions in Geneva.
The 42nd round of the Geneva International Discussions – the only international format of meetings addressing Georgia-Russia relations – was held on December 12-13.
The talks traditionally include negotiators from Georgia and Russia as well as representatives from occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, and are co-chaired by United Nations (UN), Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and European Union (EU) officials.
At the recent meeting, the Georgian side said that the ethnic discrimination against Georgians has intensified lately in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region.
It was stressed that registering local residents as foreign citizens or forcing them to change their surnames and ethnic identity could lead to "a new wave of ethnic cleansing”.
The meeting stressed that the fundamental rights and freedoms of Georgians living in the occupied areas are violated on a daily basis and international security mechanisms need to be created on the ground to ease the situation.
Another issue the Georgian side raised in Geneva was the necessity of protecting cultural monuments on the territory of the occupied areas.
The meeting also stressed the need for the immediate detention of a man from Abkhazia who killed a Georgian citizen at the "border line” last year. But the occupied side suspended his prosecution.
The next round of the Geneva International Discussions is scheduled for March 27-28, 2018.