Georgian FM speaks about violation of religious rights in occupied regions

Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani was invited to the event on religious freedom by US State Secretary Mike Pompeo. Photo: Foreign Ministry press office., 27 Jul 2018 - 13:54, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani has spoken about the violation of religious rights of Georgian citizens in the country’s two occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) at a ministerial in Washington DC yesterday.

At the international event initiated and hosted by US Vice President Mike Pence and State Secretary Mike Pompeo with the participation of more than 40 foreign ministers worldwide, Zalkaliani condemned Russia’s illegal actions in Georgia.

The religious rights of Georgian citizens have been blatantly violated by Russia in Georgia’s occupied regions since the Russia-Georgia 2008 war. Representatives of the Georgian church are unable to conduct services in the churches which are now under the Russian control,” Zalkaliani said.
Georgian citizens are illegally deprived of their rights to visit the cemeteries of their ancestors on religious holidays,” Zalkaliani added.

He called upon the international community to adequately respond to the grave violations of human rights in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali by Russia.

Zalkaliani stated that Georgia has always been distinguished by its tolerance to religious minorities in the country.

Ensuring religious freedom is one of the priorities of the Georgian government,” Zalkaliani said.

He said that the government of Georgia is eager to serve as a bridge between different religious groups.