Human rights in Abkhazia to be affected by closing of UN mission: PACE rapporteurs

Politics Materials 18 June 2009 22:58 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 18 June / Trend corr. E.Ostapenko/ The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) rapporteurs on Georgia today jointly expressed great concern that Russia had vetoed the continuation of the mandate of the UN Observer Mission to Georgia (UNOMIG) and its work in the breakaway region of Abkhazia.

"Without a UN Mission, Abkhazia is in danger of slipping into a human rights black hole," the rapporteurs stated.

A joint statement was made by the PACE rapporteurs on the consequences of the war between Georgia and Russia, Luc van der Brande (Belgium, EPP/ CD) and Mátyás Eörsi (Hungary, ALDE), as well as Corien Jonker (Netherlands, EPP/CD), rapporteur on the humanitarian consequences of this war.

At the UN Security Council on Monday, Russia, using the veto, prevented the extension of the mandate of the UN Mission in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone.

Permanent representative of Russia to the UN Vitaly Churkin has used the veto after a draft resolution prepared by the family members of the Security Council and envisaging a technical extension of the mission for two weeks was presented to the voting.

Objections of the Russian representative were caused by the references in the draft resolution to the resolution 1808 of the Security Council dated 15 April 2008 - the last, which contains a reference to the territorial integrity of Georgia.
Thus, the UN mission in the region of Georgia and Abkhazia stopped its work on Tuesday. In the practice of the UN, three months are given for the withdrawal of the mission.

PACE rapporteurs called on Russia to show flexibility in order to find a solution for international human rights and monitoring presence in Abkhazia

"UNOMIG has had over 15 years of experience in the region. This experience must not be lost," the statement says.

Regretting that repeated Assembly demands to ensure the continuation of the work carried out by the UN Observer Mission in Georgia had not been heeded, the PACE rapporteurs called on all parties to think about the people and not the politics.

"Without UNOMIG in Abkhazia there will be no independent human rights protection and monitoring, and an almost complete lack of any international presence. Those who will suffer are the people, and particularly those living in the Gali region," they added.

"No one wants a further exodus from the Gali region, but without human rights protection guarantees and monitoring, this exodus will become a real risk," the rapporteurs concluded.

On February 13, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1866 extending the mandate of United Nations presence in the region of Georgia and Abkhazia for four months, by June 15, 2009.