David Sanakoyev: Human Rights Is A Unique System To Achieve Balance In This Diverse World

Thu, 23/12/2010 - 12:48

peech by the South Ossetian President's Plenipotentiary for Human Rights David Sanakoyev at the scientific conference in Transnistria "Development of Human Rights Institutions in the self-determined states" to mark International Human Rights Day.

Human rights have become one of the mankind's most significant gains of the last century. During this time, the international mechanisms of human rights protection were created, which had greatly increased the possibility for people to struggle for their rights, for those, who suffered from various abuses by the authorities of their states. Human rights is a unique system to achieve balance in this diverse world. But to make it useful, all the opportunities provided by national and international human rights mechanisms should be used. Of course, we realize that often it is difficult to achieve a fair result, but we must not forget those people who sometimes gave their lives to uphold these universal values.

In the process of building up a new state, secure envorinment plays a primary role. In certain cases, the need for security pushes the authorities to restrict certain liberties, and foreign elements seeking to exploit this situation to their advantage often misuse this. Despite the fact that the security parameters are spelled out in international instruments, the practice shows that some countries can easily violate their obligations. And if the approaches to the responsibility of parties are not revised, security will remain in jeopardy.

For example, the address by the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili to the European Parliament was warmly received in Europe. In particular, many Europeans saw in the new policy of Tbilisi the attempt to abandon the idea of military settlement to the Abkhaz and South Ossetian issue, as well as contninued democratization of Georgia.
Nonetheless, the population of South Ossetia pretty well remember the promises of the President of Georgia made in August 2008 about peaceful initiatives for the settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, and days under the hits of multiple rocket launchers "Grad" followed this statement.

Moreover, today an active remilitarization of the Georgian army is underway. Georgia has completely restored its military capasities to the level prior to the attack against South Ossetia and continues to increase them rapidly.

Another evidence of the militarization of the country was the law on reserve military service adopted in 2010. This law significantly increases the mobilization resources of the Georgian army. It might not be a direct threat to the Republic of South Ossetia, but taking into account the fact that Georgia refuses to give guarantees of non-use of force against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, we perceive this as a threat to our security. Under such circumstances, there are additional difficulties in the field of human rights.
Of course, each state must protect its citizens and take care of their welfare, but it should not come at the expense of others' secuirty. Practice shows that unilateral decisions do not solve the problem in general, and in some cases, exacerbate it.

Non-governmental organizations and other representatives of civil society play a significant role in the implementation of human rights. Developed civil society is the guarantor of a more effective approach to the protection of human rights in the state and beyond it. It is necessary to create opportunities for the development of civic engagement initiatives, primarily in terms of optimizing the legal framework to make it conducive to efficient work of civil society, and thus, to minimize the probability of them being manipulated.

In order to achieve better results in the field of human rights it is necessary to consolidate the work of national human rights institutions, government and public, both domestic and international. Here, I would like to emphasize the cooperation agreement between the Commissioner for Human Rights of Abkhazia, Transnistria and South Ossetia, recently joined by the Commissioner for Human Rights of Nagorny Karabakh.
As for the citizens in many countries, for us, in our countries, the will of the people, who take advantage of their right to choose their own future in accordance with national and international laws, is determining. We are building our states in accordance with the will of our people. Of course, I understand the presence of haste or naive approach in my judgments, but the international recognition of the independence of our countries will allow us to become closer to each other, to maintain meaningful dialogue and to influence the process of building democratic society.
Georgia's aggression against South Ossetia has brought in changes in the lives of citizens. For example, children, whose parents were killed in Georgia's attack against South Ossetia in August 2008, could not to take the advantage of an invitation to visit Belgium, since the Consulate of Belgium in Moscow responded that they should have contacted the Embassy of Belgium in Georgia since they were born in South Ossetia. Although they are citizens of the Russian Federation. This attitude emphasizes the double standards applied in relation to citizens of South Ossetia. I think that this approach considerably decreases the level of confidence towards certain countries and international institutions.
We received a number of complaints about the illicit abduction of citizens of South Ossetia by Georgian security structures that occured in areas adjacent to the borderline.

Another sensitive issue is the search for the missing persons. So far, since August 2008, 7 citizens of South Ossetia are missing. When abducted, Alan Khachirov was under 16 years. Despite the fact that the authorities of South Ossetia provided the Georgian side, representatives of OSCE, EU,with information concerning these people, and the parents appealed to the various structures, such as international institutions and leaderships of various countries in the hope that they will help call on the Georgian authorities for humane approach, despite the Report of the independent international experts of the CoE Commissioner for Human Rights, in which they confirm the opinion of the South Ossetian side that the citizens of South Ossetia were abducted by security forces in Georgia, despite all these efforts, the Georgian side continues to reject the fact of seizure of citizens of South Ossetia.
I think this will continue as long as the approaches to the irresponsible behaviors of the authorities of separate countries to their commitments are not reviewed.

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