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Virtual Motion of the UN General Assembly

ALLS Media Monitoring Team

The resolution on the Status of the refugees (the so-called internally displaced persons) from Abkhazia, Georgia, and the Tskhinval(i) Region/South Ossetia, Georgia (document A/65/L.74) was adopted by a recorded vote of 57 in favour to 13 against, with 74 abstentions.

In favour: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu.

This motion can only be put down to the witchcraft-like influence of the Georgian lobby.

A more sober viewer would raise several questions. Consider the “Report of the Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Francis M. Deng, submitted pursuant to Commission resolution 1997/39. Addendum: Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement of the UN Commission on Human Rights (11 February 1998)”, and, in particular, the following:

Principle 6

“2. The prohibition of arbitrary displacement includes displacement:

b. In situations of armed conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand;”

The countries that voted In Favour are perhaps not aware of the armed conflict or of the fact that Georgia has totally failed to establish any relationship with Abkhazia. On the contrary, Georgia has been continuously launching terrorist activity, forcing the refugees to form the “White Legion” and “Forest Brothers” terrorist groups to operate in Abkhazia’s border-region of Gal.   

Principle 7

2. The authorities undertaking such displacement shall ensure, to the greatest practicable extent, that proper accommodation is provided to the displaced persons, that such displacements are effected in satisfactory conditions of safety, nutrition, health and hygiene, and that members of the same family are not separated.

The countries that voted In Favour are probably not aware of the fact that, when the Georgian army invaded Abkhazia, it ransacked and destroyed Abkhazians houses and apartments. Did any representative of the of these 57 countries voting In favour bother to try to learn the conditions of ‘safety, nutrition, health and hygiene’ of the inhabitants of Abkhazia who suffered post-war water- and electricity-problems, accommodation-problems and post-war blockade for years until it was lifted following recognition by Russia.

Have these countries ever thought about the question of accommodation for the refugees before they voted In Favour? Where do they suppose returning Kartvelians would find work in Abkhazia when faced with such facts as:

1. Abkhazians do not speak Georgian, and conversely Kartvelians do not speak Abkhazian. Have these voters scheduled any language- or house-building programmes?

2. post-war Abkhazia is doing utmost but struggling to find employment for its own indigenous people in Abkhazia, a country intentionally and totally isolated from the world through sanctions imposed on it for being a victim of Georgian aggression.

Principle 10

1. Every human being has the inherent right to life which shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life. Internally displaced persons shall be protected in particular against:
a.    Genocide;
b.    Murder;
c.    Summary or arbitrary executions; and
d.    Enforced disappearances, including abduction or unacknowledged detention, threatening or resulting in death.

Threats and incitement to commit any of the foregoing acts shall be prohibited.

The countries that voted In Favour perhaps do not know that on 14 August 1992 the Georgian invasion into Abkhazia began with persecution of Abkhazians, murder, arbitrary executions, and enforced disappearances, including abduction or unacknowledged detention, threatening (or actually resulting in) death. During the war two clear threats of genocide were issued, one by a Georgian military leader (on video) and the other by a leading member of the aggressor administration (published in Le Monde Diplomatique), which means that, contrary to their usual condemnation of threats/commission of genocide, the countries voting In Favour openly ally themselves with a state that is guilty of the same.

Principle 29

1. Internally displaced persons who have returned to their homes or places of habitual residence or who have resettled in another part of the country shall not be discriminated against as a result of their having been displaced. They shall have the right to participate fully and equally in public affairs at all levels and have equal access to public services.

The countries that voted In Favour are perhaps not aware of the fact that the refugees from Abkhazia are now actually residing on their indigenous lands, which they were forced to leave during (Georgian!) Stalin’s  Black Terror (1937-1953) and in the land where the Georgian language is considered the state-language, though Mingrelian has no official status. It seems doubtful that these people would prefer to live in a different cultural atmosphere. Abkhazians treat Georgia as an enemy state. Georgia constantly instigates and demonstrates its odium towards Abkhazians. Georgia has failed to establish friendly relations. It is easy to damage relations, but it is not that easy to win back confidence. It takes decades or even centuries (as once stated by Georgia’s president Mikheil Saakashvili) in an area like the Caucasus, where the blood-feud has been a centuries-old tradition.    

Regretfully, the adopted UN Resolution on Status of IDPs and Refugees from Abkhazia was not based on documents, including the UN’s very own Reports on Georgia, not to mention a mass of historical data. One of our concerns is that Georgia will seek to gain wider support for this Resolution as it continues its determined efforts to dupe the international community into believing that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are ‘occupied territories’ and to divert attention from the humanitarian problems from which people continue to suffer. In a word, Georgia misrepresents itself to the international community, and that international community has proved itself far too gullible to such deception for far too long.

No one denies the fact that refugees deserve sympathy and proper care, but those who started the war  should have considered the consequences for their kin in Abkhazia before taking the decision to begin hostilities.

Source: ALLS Media Monitoring Team

See also: Response to Connor Schratz

 


 


AW's Note:

Over the years since the end of the war in Abkhazia on 30 September 1993 and the flight of most of the former Kartvelian population from the region, various figures for the refugees resident in Georgia have been cited by different organisations and commentators. Please see below a selection of these figures along with the relevant source.

1989 - Total Population of Abkhazia: 525,061
 
Georgians: 239,872
Abkhazians: 93,267
Armenians: 76,541
Russians: 74,914
Greeks: 14,664
 
Source: ''Ethno-demographic history of Abkhazia, 1886 - 1989'', by Daniel Müller - Table 13, (PDF)

Graphic:  Demographic change in Abkhazia 1897–1989 - Conciliation Resources

 
EXCERPTS
 
GEORGIAN SIDE
 
1. Mikheil SAAKASHVILI (President of Georgia)
-- “Any hint on possibility to legalize expulsion of 500,000 people from Abkhazia and occupation of 20% of Georgian territory… would be a disaster for Ukraine itself, because some voice certain territorial claims towards Ukraine too,” Saakashvili said.  [Civil Georgia, 15 Feb. 2010]
 
-- About 450,000-500,000 pride residents of Abkhazia live in exile in their own country. [Georgia President's web site, 29 Apr. 2008]
 
 
2. Giorgi BADRIDZE (Georgian ambassador to UK)
--that is forcing the remaining inhabitants to take Russian citizenship and which has systematically ejected more than 350,000 Georgians, the largest ethnic group in Abkhazia, and other nationalities in a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign. [Guardian, 5 March 2010]
 
 
3. Vakhtang JAOSHVILI (Georgian ambassador to Israel)
-- August 7 is the second anniversary of the war with Russia, which soundly defeated Georgia, taking major parts of its territory (the Abkhazia and South Ossetia districts ) and turning 300,000 people into refugees. [Haaretz,3 Aug. 2010]
 
 
4. Grigol VASHADZE (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia)
-- In the early 90’s, about 50,000 people died during the war in Abkhazia and in Tskinvali; and up to 500 000, mostly ethnic Georgians were forcibly displaced. [Chatham House, 13 Oct. 2009 - (PDF)]
 
 
5. Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Acccommodation and Refugees of Georgia
-- Figures on persons internally displaced in Georgia in 1990/1993As of June 2009, there are 228,142 IDPs from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region [Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons - Georgia]

6. --''According to claims of the separatist authorities there are currently 320 000 people living in Abkhazia. According to Tbilisi this is an unrealistic figure as the government-in-exile of Abkhazia’s autonomous republic reports that the total number currently living in Abkhazia is no more than 167 000 people, the majority of whom are Armenians – 57 000, then Georgians – 46 000, Abkhazians – 34 000, then Russians 23 000 and so on.'' [The Messenger Online, 12 August 2010]


RANDOM

7. Organised by French NGOs, SOS Racism and the Union of Jewish Students of France, the concert was aimed at "expressing French civil society's solidarity" with the Georgian refugees."Today nearly 400,000 refugees from these occupied and 'cleaned' provinces live in Georgia and abroad. These Georgian citizens ask Europe for help. It is the honour of Europe and of the Europeans to answer to their desire," the organisers said in a written statement. [France 24, 27 May 2010]
 
 
8. -- UNHCR addresses the protection and assistance needs of nearly 340,000 individuals in Georgia. As of September 2009, this number included around 230,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Georgia,including in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The total number also includes some 106,000 people who have returned to Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and areas adjacent to South Ossetia, whose situation remains precarious. [UNHCR]
 
 
9. -- A combined total of some 250,000 Georgians fled Abkhazia following the 1992-1994 war and the two-week war in 1998. [Nikolaj Nielsen - Foreign Policy]
 
 
10. -- Between 1992 and 1994, it is estimated that nearly 350,000 members of Abkhazia’s population were displaced (UNHCR 1999) (RefWorld 1999). The most recent United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) estimate has adjusted the original number to 201,000 IDPs, suggesting that  there has been some spontaneous return of IDPs to Abkhazia (UNHCR 2005). Abkhazian IDPs are predominately made-up of ethnic  Georgians who were forced from their homes in Abkhazia and now live in makeshift settlements around Tbilisi and central Georgia. [Maggie Koziol - Poverty Alleviation for Internally Displaced Persons: Case Study of Georgia - (PDF)]
 
 
11. -- The Georgian population, especially the 200,000 refugees from Abkhazia, have been rapidly losing faith in the UN Representative. [Irakly Areshidze - CACI Analyst]
 
 
12. -- According to the Georgian Ministry for Refugees and Accommodation more than 290,000 internally displaced persons currently reside in Georgia. More than 80 percent of these were driven from Abkhazia, the rest from South Ossetia. [Timur Kiguradze - Messenger.ge]
 
 
13. -- IDP's 260,000 (displaced from Abkhazia and South Ossetia) (2005) [CIA - The World Fact]
 
 
14. -- Approximately 300,000 predominantly ethnic Ossetians and ethnic Georgians were displaced following the secessionist conficts in South Ossetia in 1991–92 and in Abkhazia in 1992–93.
---
The 1989 Soviet Census put the Georgian population of  Abkhazia at 239,872 (45.7% of  a total pre-war population of  525,061)  and most led in 1992–93.  In 2005, the Georgian Ministry of  Refugees and Accommodation and the UNHCR registered 209,013 displaced from Abkhazia, including approximately 45,000 Gali returnees.  The Ministry later retracted the igure and put the igure at 247,612. [David L. Phillips - Restoring Georgia’s Sovereignty in Abkhazia (PDF)(Note 29)

 
 
THE VIEW FROM ABKHAZIA

 
15. -- According to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, those who use arms in an armed struggle and then flee do not fall under the international definition of refugees.[75] The responsibility for these people fell and falls solely on the Georgian authorities. It is important to note here that a great many of those who fled from Abkhazia were recent immigrants. They were partly victims of the compulsory resettlement organized by Stalin and his Abkhazian-born Mingrelian lieutenant Lavrenti Beria. David Galaridze expressed well-founded doubts about the mass-return of these Kartvelians to Abkhazia in the newspaper “Akhali Taoba”: “What do we want in Abkhazia, to kill everyone and live there?” From the Abkhazian point of view, there are grave doubts concerning the legitimacy of UN Security Council Resolution №  876, (19 October 1993) paragraph 5 and also Resolution 1 898, (31 January 1994) paragraph 2, and other international resolutions on the so-called IDPs relating to the Republic of Abkhazia.[76]
 
Another important fact to consider on the question of Kartvelian displaced persons is that their number is regularly exaggerated by the Georgian authorities. Some of them have never left Abkhazia and others never lived here. The Georgian authorities have engineered a home-aspect to the conflict in Abkhazia by establishing a so-called "government in exile of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia”. Through the deliberate exaggeration of the number of IDPs, Georgia is able to win support and money from international humanitarian organizations.
 
Experienced Abkhazian expert Liana Kvarchelia writes that Abkhazian society can allow the return only of those Kartvelians who did not fight on the Georgian side and only after they recognize Abkhazia as an independent state. She also says that the same right for return should be given also to descendants of Abkhazian refugees from the Caucasian War of the XIX century, who live mostly in Turkey. [E. K. Adzhindzhal - Abkhazia's Liberation and International Law]

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