Georgian State Ministry for Reconciliation and Civil Equality honours 2008 Russian war heroes

Tbilisi: Georgian State Ministry for Reconciliation and Civil Equality honoured the memory of heroes, fighters and civilians who died in the 2008 Russian war, fighting for the Georgian independence and territorial integrity and expressed condolences to their families, relatives and the whole of Georgia.

Fifteen years have passed since the 2008 Russian war, with Russia breaking the internationally recognized borders and territorial integrity of the sovereign state, followed by the illegal occupation of Georgia’s undivided territories – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.

In a gross violation of the fundamental principles of international law and the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008, Russia continues to occupy regions of Georgia, strengthen its illegal control in the regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, expand the process of creating a common social and economic space and gross, systematic violation of the basic rights of the local population.

It is being expressed as ethnic discrimination, removal of barbed wire and other artificial barriers along dividing lines, strict restrictions on free movement, illegal arrests, and prohibiting native language education, property, medical care and livelihoods. 

In addition, the isolation of the occupied regions and local populations, which serve to disrupt growing connections and reconciliation processes, among other purposes, is alarming.

The people who participated and were responsible for holding the lives of Georgian citizens – David Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria, Archil Tatunashvili and Irakli Kvaratskhelia remain unpunished.

After several waves of ethnic cleansing, hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons are still disqualified from returning home safely and with dignity.

Despite the efforts of the Georgian Government, the EU Monitoring Mission is still not provided by the occupation force to fully fulfil its mandate and monitor the occupied regions.

According to several decisions of international courts, the Russian Federation is fully responsible for the situation in the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions and illegal acts.

The Government of Georgia, using all the resorts at its disposal and in coordination with international partners, continues its efforts to deal with the severe consequences of the occupation, to make responsible persons involved in saving the lives of Georgian citizens, to create appropriate conditions for the safe and dignified return of displaced persons.

In light of the dire security situation in the region and existing challenges, the main goal of the Georgian Government is to resolve the conflict peacefully, which has no alternative. Georgian authorities are called on to create conditions favourable for the inhabitants of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.

 That is why, even in the conditions of limited access to the occupied regions, the Georgian Government firmly and unabatedly continues to pursue peace policy, which, together with de-occupation, aiming to expand depolitized dialogue and build trust among the members of artificially divided communities, as well as to care for the conflict-affected population and provide better future prospects for them.

 To achieve the goals of reconciliation and inclusion policy, the Georgian Government is leading only by a depolitized, status-neutral and humanitarian approach, whose core values are humans, their dignity and well-being.

Notably, it is of utmost importance to continue principled and consolidated support from the international community, to protect the fundamental rights of the population living in the occupied regions, to highlight actions towards artificial isolation and to promote dialogue between people. 

The State Minister’s Apparatus responds and highly appreciates the unwavering support of the international community to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and the contribution of international partners in the process of peaceful resolution of the conflict, including reconciliation and restoration of trust.

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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