MINELRES: OSCE HCNM deeply concerned by recent developments in Abkhazia

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Thu Apr 16 18:53:41 2009

Original sender: Mihai Gribincea <Mihai.Gribincea@hcnm.org>


OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities deeply concerned by recent
developments in Abkhazia

THE HAGUE, 14 April 2009 - The OSCE High Commissioner on National
Minorities, Knut Vollebaek, called for an end to pressure put on the
Georgian population in Abkhazia in a statement released today.

"I am deeply concerned about recent developments in the Gali District of
Abkhazia, which have led to a deteriorating security situation in the
region. In line with my conflict prevention mandate, I urge the de facto
authorities to put an end to the pressure being exercised on the
Georgian population in the Gali District through the limitation of their
education rights, compulsory "passportization", forced conscription into
the Abkhaz military forces and restrictions on their freedom of

"I also regret the decision of de facto leadership to close the
administrative border of Abkhazia, which makes it increasingly difficult
for the population to maintain family contacts, access necessary health
care or sell their products on the other side of the de facto border. I
am concerned that such coercive practices, which violate international
law, may further destabilize the already fragile inter-ethnic situation
in the region and force many Georgians to leave."

"I reiterate that international norms and standards require that any
authority exercising jurisdiction over population and territory, even if
not recognized by the international community, must respect the human
rights of everyone, including those of persons belonging to ethnic
communities. I urge the de facto authorities to desist from all
intimidation and the imposition of Abkhazian "citizenship" on and forced
conscription of Georgians living in the Gali District. I also urge the
de facto authorities to respect the education rights of Georgians
residing there and to allow Georgian students in the region to study in
the Georgian language."

"While I understand and welcome the desire of the de facto Abkhaz
authorities to strengthen the Abkhaz identity and language, I would like
to stress that this should be done in a way that does not negatively
affect the rights of persons belonging to other ethnic communities in
the region to maintain and develop their own language and culture."


Mihai Gribincea,
Senior Adviser to HCNM
Tel.: + 31(0) 70 312 55 16
Mobile: + 31 (0) 6 109 223 46
Email : mgribincea@hcnm.org

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