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Statement by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia

Comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia in connection with the report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the situation of human rights

After reviewing the report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the situation of human rights in the so-called "occupied territories", which Georgia implies the two independent states - the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia, it becomes apparent that it is aimed at misinforming the international community about the real picture of human rights in the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia. This report, as announced, will be prepared on a quarterly basis by the Georgian side for the OSCE.

One is struck by the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia continues to pursue a deliberate policy of planting in the minds of the world community the term "occupied territories" in relation to the Republic of Abkhazia, which directly contradicts the existing political realities in the Republic and has the political aim of creating a negative image of both the Republic of Abkhazia and the Russian-Abkhaz interstate cooperation.

We consider it necessary to remind the Georgian side that the regime and the law of military occupation are defined by special international agreements adopted at the IV Hague Conference of 1907, and the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Protocols thereto of 1977. According to these international instruments, military occupation is a temporary occupation of the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State with the adoption of the most important functions of government. Such a territory is considered occupied when actual power there was passed into the hands of the enemy army. The occupation army has the right to withdraw money, the treasury and other state-owned assets of the occupied territory.

The real situation in the Republic of Abkhazia does not absolutely fit any of the criteria listed above, which is well known not only to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, but also to the international community. Unfortunately, this kind of propaganda and substitution of concepts aimed at blackening the image of Abkhazia continues to be used by the Georgian side. Another falsification of the Georgian Foreign Ministry, as reflected in this report, can be called the deliberate overstatement of the number of refugees from Abkhazia, whose number, according to the report, is about 430 thousand people.

According to the 1989 census, the population of Abkhazia was 525,000 people, including 240,000 ethnic Georgians. It is obvious that the number of people who left Abkhazia during the conflict cannot exceed this figure. In addition, about 60 thousand people have been returned by the Abkhaz side unilaterally in the Gal district of Abkhazia. This is perhaps the only example in the modern world practice of a similar mass return of refugees to the unsettled area of ethnic conflict. Thus, the figure of 430,000 refugees is fictional.

The greater part of the Georgian Foreign Ministry report is devoted to the movement across the Ingur River, as well as the fact of detention of citizens who have violated state border crossing rules.

In this connection, it is surprising that the Georgian Foreign Ministry in its report refers to data provided by the so-called "Department of Justice of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia". We would like to remind that it is the body that does not have any legitimacy and lies as a heavy burden on the budget of Georgia and is used exclusively for propaganda purposes. Moreover, this body is an interested party, in connection with which the findings cannot be used as a source of objective and reliable information.

In general, examples of human rights violations reflected in the report of the Georgian Foreign Ministry, including in the territory of the Gal district of Abkhazia, are false and of far-fetched character.

As regards to the procedure of crossing the Georgian-Abkhaz state border on the Ingur River, it is a very simple procedure for residents of the Gal district. There are five checkpoints operating on the Abkhaz side, working 12 hours a day (Ingur checkpoint, Saber, Taglan, Nabakevi and Otobaya), which are crossed by tens of thousands of people each month.

Leadership of the Republic of Abkhazia is trying to simplify the process of crossing the Georgian-Abkhaz state border. According to the decree No. 125 of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Abkhazia from 25.09.2012 on the "Temporary list of documents for the right of entry of persons to the Republic of Abkhazia and the departure of persons from Abkhazia across the state border of the Republic of Abkhazia with Georgia," the residents of Gal district have the right to cross the border, even with the passport of the citizen of the USSR. All these facts are the direct evidence of absence of any problems crossing the state border with Georgia for residents of the Gal district.

With regard to the Russian border guards, they are in the Republic of Abkhazia in accordance with the agreement between the Republic of Abkhazia and the Russian Federation "On joint efforts in protecting the state border of the Republic of Abkhazia" from April 30, 2009.

In turn, once again we would like to draw the attention of the international community to egregious facts of coordinated and discriminatory visa policy of the EU and Georgia, aimed at the international isolation of the citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia. This policy, implemented by the Georgian authorities with the help of partners from the European Union, is contrary to all existing norms of international law on human rights. These actions not only violate the human right to freedom of movement, but also run counter to the fundamental international principles such as freedom of access to education, quality medical care, cultural and sports communication etc.

The common thread runs through all of the text of the report of the Georgian Foreign Ministry the idea that allegedly there is no conflict between Abkhazia and Georgia, and the conflicting parties are Georgia and Russia. Georgian politicians are trying to deliberately introduce this false thesis in international public opinion, in an attempt to remove the burden of responsibility for unleashed bloody events by it in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the numerous victims among the civilian population.

We believe that this report of the Georgian Foreign Ministry does not reflect realities, it is extremely biased and designed to mislead the international community. This politicized document is contrary to the spirit of the Geneva discussions and can damage the long-term efforts of the parties and international mediators aimed at resolving the conflict.

Source: MFA Apsny

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