Tuesday, April 14, 2009

OSCE on Russian ethnic cleansing of Georgians

It has been a while since last post on the blog, but now, as the Norwegian High Commissioner on Nationa Minorities in OSCE, Knut Vollebæk has made a statement on the situation in the russian-occupied parts of Georgia, I decided to post his statement as published by Civil Georgia, April 14:
Knut Vollebaek, the OSCE high commissioner on national minorities, called on the authorities in breakaway Abkhazia “to put an end to the pressure being exercised on the Georgian population in the Gali district.” “I am deeply concerned about recent developments in the Gali District of Abkhazia, which have led to a deteriorating security situation in the region” The OSCE commissioner said that the pressure on local ethnic Georgian population was exerted through “the limitation of their education rights, compulsory ‘passportization’, forced conscription into the Abkhaz military forces and restrictions on their freedom of movement.”
He also expressed “regret” about the decision of the Abkhaz leadership to close the administrative border, “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,” Knut Vollebaek said. “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.”


Anonymous Dumitru said...

Poor , hungry and stupid peoples are not that easy to manipulate and buy off.

Among the thousands of protesters in front of parliament in Tbilisi on Saturday, April 11, is Rauf Zakaryan, 45, a homeless man.

He lived in Russia, Ukraine, and Armenia before, but moved because of the lack of money and to find somewhere to live.
Zakaryan decided to live in Georgia because he heard it was a more law-abiding country. He thinks Georgia is a fairer place to live and is puzzled by the calls for Saakashvili’s resignation

“There have to be elections, there is no other way to get rid of the president,” said Zakaryan, before going off to look for a new place to sleep for the night.


With the Russian military reportedly mobilizing within striking range of Georgia, many online commentators are becoming increasingly worried by the tactics employed by the opposition as it continues its campaign to force the president, Mikhail Saakashvili, to resign.

Just eight months after the August war, The Tbilisi Blues, for example, is particularly concerned by plans to bring protesters from the regions to Tbilisi, the Georgian capital.

You'll be surprised how much the West is ignorant about Moldova... while you have to believe the WB statistics, you need to interpret it correctly. Prices for food and clothes in Chisinau, the Moldovan capital, may be higher than in New York.

second - I don't think we "deserve to be left alone to iron out our new form of government" - actually that is exactly what is happening, and more than 500 young people (university, high school students were arrested), beaten up brutally (one dead confirmed), reports of female protesters sexually abused by the police, etc. Do you think young people can stand 25,000 police army in the service of an authoritarian Communist party? Is that you call a "wild success"?

It is communist in name, and in behaviour. it supports EU membership only vocally, while in fact is doing everything to avoid it. It has been authoritarian since few years, you can talk to Western businessmen having tried to enter Moldova. You say they are not crushing anyone - how would you know? Have you been in Moldova over the last week? I am there, and I say they behave even more miserably than Lukashenko government in Belarus.

Hooligans, who were reportedly a minority of the protesters, vandalized and looted official buildings and even put the Parliament building on fire. Riot police arrived at the site in the night and arrested every young person they found. It looks like the police allowed the protests become violent intentionally or even infiltrated them with provocateurs in order to have an excuse for harsh action.

Friday, April 17, 2009 3:49:00 pm  
Blogger Eistein G. said...

Dimitru: I am very much aware of how Moldova is treated by the West. I discussed Moldova some times last year on this blog in connection with the Russian attempt of destabilizing the country and impose embargo of wine etc. There is a coalition between Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdienestre.

Friday, April 17, 2009 5:45:00 pm  
Anonymous Oleg said...

Human Rights Watch has released what looks to be the definitive report on the use of cluster munitions by Russian forces in their August 2008 invasion of Georgia. It concludes that Russia carpet-bombed the Georgian city of Variani twice and hit the city of Gori once, using cluster weapons all three times and in total killing 12 Georgian civilians while wounding 38. For its part, Georgia killed only four civilians and wounded just eight using cluster bombs – one third the Russian totals.

HRW’s investigation discovered remnants of Russian cluster munitions in or near nine different Georgian villages, meaning that the casualty tally could well be higher than HRW was able to conclusively document.

Let’s be clear: “Russia definitely violated international humanitarian law with its use of cluster munitions.” Those aren’t our words, they’re the words of HRW researcher Bonnie Docherty, author of the report. Russia still denies even using the weapons, much less killing any civilians. Georgia, at least, admits using them, though it claims only military targets were selected.

The use of cluster weapons by Russian and Georgia would not be comparable even if the casualities they inflicted were the same. Georgia does not pretend to membership in world leadership organizations like the UN Security Counsel or the G-8. Russia does, and therefore Russia must actually show leadership if it wants the respect that comes with it. It doesn’t show that leadership. Moreover, Russia is an enormous country with a vastly stronger military, and it was Russia that crossed the border of Georgia proper. Georgian forces never set foot in Russia proper. Given this, it’s perfectly predictable for Georgia to use any means at its disposal to defend its territory from unprovoked invasion. Any other civilized country would have used cluster bombs if they were the only weapon left in its arsenal. Russia’s use of the weapons, by contrast, was entirely gratutious.

But the fact that Russia killed three times more civilians with those weapons than Georgia did is definitive. It bespeaks the barbaric attitude of the Kremlin that we have so often documented here on this blog, and it cries out for international sanctons. Already, there are rumors of a second Russian assault on Georgia this summer, and Russia also eyes Ukraine and other former Russian slave states in post-Soviet space. If the world does not send Russia a clear message that this barbaric conduct will not be tolerated, it will be repeated. If it is repeated, next time far more civilians will perish.

It’s as simple as that.

Sunday, April 19, 2009 4:10:00 am  
Blogger TGKeys said...

Thank you for posting all this updates and commenting on them. Last time I heard about HRW and Russian gov. attack on Georgia, the results were 50%-50%, meaning both sides violated human rights. US does not give much news about Georgia, and world media seems to ignore the fact that Russian forces (unaware and non-human military forces) are still on Georgian territory.
Russian gov has to reconsider their tactics and their brains. They keep dragging Russian peoples names into mud with them. After all, there is a huge difference between Russian gov and Russian population, and gov's opinion almost never represents its people. Russian gov has a long long way to go to reach democracy.

Peace to all.

Sunday, April 19, 2009 6:37:00 am  

Post a comment

<< Home