Council of Europe rejected the participation of young journalists from South Osseti in |Peace Camp"

Thu, 09/07/2009 - 13:07

On 5-12 July, in Germany, the Council of Europe (CoE) is holding a youth "Peace Camp" on settlement and transformation of conflicts. Representatives of South Ossetia should have also participated. However, as the Chairperson of the Association of Young Journalists Irina Kelekhsaev told IA RES, the participation of representatives from South Ossetia and Abkhazia was rejected – the facilitators explained the refusal with the fact that "the Embassies of Germany and France found it impossible to issue visas to these participants".

"The invitation was received by the Association of Young Journalists, and we were happy to get this opportunity. The CoE had initially addressed the invitation to a team leader and ten more representatives of youth organizations of South Ossetia. The same kind of invitation was addressed to the Abkhaz side", said Kelekhsaeva. -
According to her, the facilitators then changed the condition and invited for participation a team leader and three youth organizations' representatives. It was expected that the Camp would be attended by representatives from Palestine, Cyprus, Northern Cyprus, Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
"As the Chairperson of the Association of young journalists, I was happy we could take out our young people. It is a good occasion when they can both see the world and learn something (the Camp modules included a cartoon course), and they could gain an experience in communicating with Europeans – it is extremely important for us. When then had reduced the number of participants from our states to three, they did it because there would be six representatives from Georgia, and therefore to balance them, there would be three people from Abkhazia and South Ossetia", said Kelekhsaeva. She also mentioned that the facilitators started thinking about organizing the trip for the representatives from Abkhazia and South Ossetia a week before the event.
"I was surprised that the exchange of correspondence began two months prior to the trip, and so, we were all sure that everything was going fine, and that so would be the organization. But, the CoE facilitators of the Camp starting arranging the trip a week before the planned departure. We did everything necessary for collection of papers, sending them to Moscow, filling out the Schengen visa applications, etc. Everything was sent timely, and on 3 July they even requested for a passport copy of one of the participants, and then, on 4 July, I have received a letter from a facilitators for the participation of the representatives from South Ossetia and Abkhazia has been rejected, since "the Embassies of Germany and France found it impossible to issue visas". I was surprised with one wording in the letter saying that "based on this experience the Council of Europe will draw certain conclusion to prevent similar mistakes in the future". We were very much disappointed, since I consider it important to be able to travel abroad and communicate, as well as to learn something. Our youth desperately needs that, and if the Council of Europe provides us with this opportunity, we very much appreciated the invitation. Plus, for our children, our youth, who went through the recent armed conflict, the occasion where they could communicate with young people from other states would be precious", concluded Kelekhsaeva.
Irina Kelekhsaeva mentioned that " in the response letter to the facilitators we would like to tell them that we had also drawn our conclusions, and I think, so did the representatives from Abkhazia, who could not participate in the Camp either".

Мой мир