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Georgia-Russia conflict: politics poisoning humanitarian progress, PACE committee warns

Strasbourg, 28.11.2012 – Four years on from the war between Georgia and Russia, a committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has warned against politics poisoning possibilities for progress on humanitarian issues arising from the war.

In a draft resolution based on a report by Tina Acketoft (Sweden, ALDE), approved yesterday in Geneva, PACE’s Migration Committee said the humanitarian consequences of the conflict remained a major concern: “While the emergency needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees have been largely taken care of, there is a slow but sure freezing of the conflict where persons and their lives become trumped by politics.”

It said the preoccupation on all sides with status issues, access across the administrative boundary Line (ADL) and terminology issues was poisoning the possibility of progress on the humanitarian front. “These issues are political in nature and should be secondary and not primary in any humanitarian discussion,” the committee said. Recent political changes in Georgia following the 1 October elections could “provide an opportunity for a change of dialogue on all sides”, it added.

Providing durable housing and livelihoods for IDPs remained “the greatest humanitarian challenge” facing the Georgian Government – though the committee also congratulated the government for many of its efforts in this area.

The report is due to be debated by PACE at its winter plenary session in January 2013.