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Georgian Parliament Speaker: “We Admit Hundreds of Migrants”

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, March 27
(GENEVA) - The Georgian Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze has stated in Switzerland on Monday that despite the presence of hundreds of thousands of its Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Georgia admits hundreds of international migrants.

Kobakhidze stated that Georgia received 1,449 asylum seekers in 2015, 947 in 2016, and 951 in 2017.

Delivering his speech at the 138th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva Kobakhidze claimed that Georgia has made “numerous steps” to support refugees and asylum-seekers and these institutional, normative and practical instructions have been positively assessed by EU, which has made Georgia a destination country.

Kobakhidze told the audience that the impact of the flow of refugees and internally displaced persons on national and regional stability and security is well known in Georgia.

“For over 25 years, Georgia has been tackling the overwhelming problem of accommodating over 280,000 internally displaced persons who fled the conflict-ravaged parts of Georgia – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region", Kobakhidze said.

He briefed the international community that the first waves of Georgians and citizens of other ethnicities were expelled en masse as a result of ethnic cleansing after the Georgian government lost control of these territories in the early 1990s.

“These territories were illegally and forcefully occupied by the Russian Federation after military aggression against sovereign Georgia in August 2008, increasing the numbers of internally displaced persons and refugees, and, at the same time, further aggravating the humanitarian and human rights situation inside the occupied territories”, he said.

Kobakhidze underscored that currently Russia occupies up to 20 percent of Georgia’s territory and illegally stations armed forces there maintaining the occupational regimes in both Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region.

“And through these occupational regimes, Russia commits numerous grave violations of human rights – such as abduction and torture of peaceful citizens”, Kobakhidze said.

“Moreover, the Russian armed forces pursue a policy of so-called borderization, installing barbed wire fences that not only restrict the freedom of movement but also cause distressing and illegitimate separation of communities and, in some instances, even families”, he added.

IPU is a global organization of national parliaments, which works with parliaments to safeguard peace and drive positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action.