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PACE rapporteur: ‘Focus on people and not politics in dealing with the humanitarian consequences of the war between Georgia and Russia’

Strasbourg, 22.09.2011 – “Keep the focus on the people and do not be side-tracked by politics when dealing with the humanitarian consequences of the war between Georgia and Russia.” This was the plea of Tina Acketoft (Sweden, ALDE), rapporteur of the Migration Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), ending a three-day visit to Georgia as part of a fact-finding visit for her report “Follow-up on the humanitarian consequences of the war between Georgia and Russia: the humanitarian situation in the war-affected areas”.

“The Georgian authorities, with the support of the international community and civil society, must be commended on the progress they have made on IDP issues since the August 2008 war,” she said. “Their efforts to provide housing and their recognition of the need to work towards durable solutions are evidence of the authorities’ commitment to the people most affected by the conflict.”

“Learning from what has worked and what has not worked in the past, durable housing solutions still have to be found for many living in collective centres and in private accommodation. This, along with the need to ensure a livelihood for IDPs, must remain a priority for the authorities, the international community and civil society.”

Ms Acketoft also highlighted her concern at reports of the difficult humanitarian situation of people in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and in particular the areas of Gali and Akhalgori. “For me, access and security are the two most important issues,” she said. “These are issues that affect individuals and communities on both sides of the administrative boundary line, and these are matters I will need to focus on in more detail during my next visit.”

During the course of her visit, from 20-22 September 2011, Ms Acketoft met with government representatives, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, internally displaced persons, local authorities and the Public Defender of Georgia.