South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders

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Five Disputed Entities in the Report of FIDH
Eka Kevanishvili, Radio Liberty/Free Europe

On October 9, famous international organization - International Federation of Human Rights FIDH published a report about human rights situation in five disputed entities of the Eastern Europe. The entities are: Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and now Crimea too. “The status of disputed entities in Eastern Europe is the source of serious human rights violations, and the victims have no access to justice,” the FIDH report reads. The international human rights organization calls on the international community to settle these conflicts without delay, taking the protection of human rights as the basis for such settlements.

The title of the FIDH Report is Assessing Human Rights Protection in Eastern European Disputed and Conflict Entities, which describes current human rights situation in five disputed entities in the region. FIDH reports that Crimea has joined Transnistria, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh on the list of disputed entities in Eastern Europe. Populations of the entities have almost equal problems - right to freedom of movement, the right of citizenship, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to property, and the right to health and education. According to the Report, there are also restrictions on the freedom of expression and association. The report also mentions numerous cases of arbitrary detention and acts of torture and ill-treatment by the police.  

“It is intolerable that 3.3 million people who live in disputed entities in Eastern Europe should find themselves without access to justice for the numerous human rights violations they are subjected to”, declared Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. “The de facto authorities, the States supporting them, but also the de jure authorities and the international community must take action to protect them”, he added.

FIDH stigmatises the fact that the victims have no recourse against such violations. The judicial system in the entities concerned is deficient, dependant or corrupt, and the international human rights mechanisms are unavailable. As the entities are not recognised by the whole of the international community, they cannot ratify the international human rights conventions.

Deputy executive director at Human Rights Center Nino Tlashadze personally participated in the seminar of human rights defenders and civil activists from the Eastern European states and disputed entities; the seminar was organized by FIDH in April, 2014. Reflections and information shared by human rights defenders became basis for the FIDH report. Nino Tlashadze said the report is outstanding with its clear messages on human rights issues in five disputed entities. 

“FIDH believes that human rights protection must become milestone for rebuilding trust between conflicting parties. It is fact that local judiciary systems are corrupted and dependent on de-facto authorities in the disputed regions. Consequently local populations do not have possibility to effectively protect their rights. They have limited access to international organizations and they can apply to them only via Georgia [in case of Abkhazia and South Ossetia].”

Zurab Bendianashvili, chairman of the Coalition for IDP Rights, was asked whether aforementioned problems really bother inhabitants of disputed entities and what is the most urgent issue for them. “The most urgent issue for them is restriction of freedom and frequent violation of the right to fair trial, because law enforcement agencies have symbolic function there. Among most acute problems we can underline right to free movement that is also restricted for the citizens of disputed entities and it generates all other problems like education, healthcare, etc. Local authorities breach these rights for their citizens.”

Zurab Bendianashvili added that for him and his colleagues every day starts with the calls from residents of conflict-affected regions who urge them for help. “Some of them need documents, others need doctor, or assistance in travelling. Some of them just need help to buy something… So, I think all their problems are related with the restricted right to free movement; if it is resolved, then their life will become easier.”

“If the international community fails to take action on these situations, human rights violations will continue, conflicts can break out and there is a real risk of other territorial disputes like Crimea or South Ossetia erupting in Eastern Europe, but also in Central Asia”, declared Tolekan Ismailova, FIDH Vice President.
FIDH calls on international organisations to contribute actively to the conflict settlement process, starting with the protection of human rights and support to civil society and human rights defenders, through suitable political action, in collaboration with the de jure and de facto authorities. 

Original text in Georgian at 



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