The Georgian Foreign Ministry slammed Moscow for the parliamentary elections held in the “the occupied region of Abkhazia” on March 12, saying that it represents “yet another attempt of legitimization of consequences of several waves of ethnic cleansing, military invasion, occupation and lasting aggression by Russia against the Georgian statehood.”
In a statement issued on March 12 the Georgian Foreign Ministry called on the international community “to give a due assessment to the illegal so called parliamentary elections” and called on the Russian Federation “to respect the fundamental norms and principles of international law.”
“The so called elections take place in the context when the Russian Federation does not comply with its obligations under the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and in parallel with intensified military build-up continues the factual annexation of Georgia’s occupied regions through their integration into Russia’s military, political, economic and social system,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
“At the same time, people displaced from Georgia’s occupied territories are deprived of the right to return to the places of their residence whereas the population remaining in these regions suffer ethnic discrimination and gross violations of basic rights and freedoms,” MFA added.
Similar points were voiced by President Giorgi Margvelashvili who stated on March 12 that “the so called elections in the occupied region of Abkhazia” cannot have any legal effect and that the polls represent “yet another attempt of legitimization of the occupation regime.”
“When a large part of the population of Abkhazia are refugees and internally displaced persons, who are deprived of the right to return to their territory, when the force exercising the effective control over the occupied territory is a foreign state – the Russian Federation, we cannot speak on the expression of free will of the population,” Margvelashvili’s statement reads.
The President called on the international community “not to permit” the legitimization of “the occupation regime” and on the Russian Federation to comply with its obligations under the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.
Concerns over the “illegal” parliamentary polls were raised by the Georgian civil society organizations as well. 43 organizations issued a statement on March 11 saying that the election results “can have no tangible effect locally and internationally.”
“Any process, including elections, lacks legal ground and cannot define the future of the Abkhazia region and its population, until the thousands of persons who were expelled from Abkhazia as a result of the ethnic cleansing are allowed to return to their homes and to participate in the region’s social-economic and political life,” the statement said.
The organizations “firmly believe” that the international community will give “an adequate assessment to the so called parliamentary elections, as yet another attempt to legitimize the consequences of ethnic cleansing” and “will not recognize the legitimacy and the results of the elections.”
They also called on the international community to “intensify efforts” towards the restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity and “the unconditional and dignified return” of the internally displaced stating that "the existing status quo aggravates the human rights conditions of both the internally displaced and the current residents of Abkhazia.”