On 3 June 2021, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, Permanent Representative of Georgia to the OSCE delivered a statement at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting in response to the report of Kairat Abdrakhmanov, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities.
Ketevan Tsikhelashvili reaffirmed Georgian Government’s determination to provide equal opportunities for every citizen, notwithstanding their ethnic, religious or other background, to fully engage them in all spheres of life, while making sure that their identity and rights are protected. She also informed the Council regarding the various projects implemented by the Government during the global pandemic that ensured access of the minority population to the necessary services and information.
The Georgian side expressed its gratitude to the OSCE High Commissioner and his staff for the long-term, fruitful and successful cooperation, including for their contribution in tailoring and implementing relevant state strategy and action plan in Georgia and assistance in the education sector.
The Ambassador draw attention of the Council to the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in the occupied regions of Georgia and stressed that population residing in Gali and Akhalgori districts as well as in Kodori are particularly vulnerable. She noted that the fundamental rights and freedoms of the local population are violated daily, this includes rights to education, freedom of movement and health, which is often followed by loss of lives. In this context, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili highlighted the recent tragic case, when local resident - Gocha Korsantia died on 2nd of June, due to injuries he sustained while attempting to cross the occupation line.
Ambassador Tsikhelashvili noted that despite the challenges induced by the occupation, the Georgian side still tries to render services to its compatriots residing on the other side of the occupation line, through the engagement policy and the peace plan – A step to a Better Future.