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UN: ready for shame?2010-09-08 18:58
Today, UN General Assembly is going to discuss the refugees' problems in Georgia. Tbilisi reckons that the international organization will adopt a relevant resolution. According to Deputy Head of Foreign Ministry Nino Kalandadze, the document rather contains a humanitarian than a political message, while the basic purpose of the Georgian government in the Assembly is to defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced persons in the South Caucasus. However, in reality, things are a bit different.
Each year, Sakartvelo appears before UN as a defender of refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. New-York gladly believes the beautiful Georgian "songs", stating that the efforts taken by republic's government on improving life conditions of the internally displaced persons, for instance, by way of encouraging their social readaptation in the places of actual residence, really help solve the problem. At the same time, UN often contradicts itself by stating in the annual reports that there are still no conditions allowing an organized return of the displaced persons.
It is not inconceivable that the necessary "condition" here means the political will of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are carefully watching their borders after their independence has been recognized. Still, the official Sukhum and Tskhinval's position is quite clear in this case.
A year ago, the resolution on refugees adopted by UN produced a wide resonance. The document confirmed the right of all internally displaced persons and their descendants regardless of their ethnic origin to return to their houses "in the whole territory of Georgia", including Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Tbilisi regarded the document as a diplomatic victory, while the Ossetians said that this decision will always be a "shameful phenomenon" of the General Assembly history and will bring no good.
Russian party also provided its assessment of the resolution, though during the meeting, the text of the document wasn't even handed out to Russian representatives. Russian Foreign Ministry underlined that the approved project has got nothing to do with the high humanitarian purposes and concerns stated by its authors. In the opinion of Russian MFA official representative Andrey Nesterenko, the initiative was dictated solely by political considerations and was based on the calculations of the Georgian side that tried to shift the responsibility for the situation developed because of the authorities' destructive policy.
A year has passed but the whole affair never moved off dead center. One of these days, Abkhaz Prime Minister Sergey Shamba underlined that the issue of the refugees' return to the Caucasian republic may only be settled when Georgia recognizes Abkhazia. "Those who wanted to return to Abkhazia have already returned, - he is cited by GHN. - Those who want to return to Abkhazia as part of Georgia cannot do that, so we cannot make any false promises like Georgian authorities are doing". According to Shamba, refugees are told in Sakartvelo that they must return to Abkhazia as to the Georgian territory but of course, such statements have nothing in common with reality.
Besides, the situation in Georgia is far from the rosy picture painted by Tbilisian diplomats before the grateful audience in UN. Three years ago, Chairman of Interim Commission for Refugees of the Georgian parliament Shota Malashkhia stated that almost half of the displaced persons have got no shelter, and this year, Tbilisi authorities started forcibly expelling refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia to the regions. As an alternative, people were offered houses with no running water or electricity. Eventually, the expelled refugees set up protest actions in front of Mikheil Saakashvili's residence and even sewed up their own mouths, which, however, was in vain.