Foreign Minister at UN Human Rights Council

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze visited Switzerland on February 27-28, where he met with his Swiss counterpart, Didier Burkhalter, and addressed the 34th Regular Session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council.

At the meeting with Didier Burkhalter, on the sideline of the the UN Human Rights Council, the ministers spoke on the two countries’ bilateral relations and Georgia’s agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, the sides also discussed the security environment in the region, as well as the security, humanitarian and human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied territories.

In his speech at the Human Rights Council Session, Georgian Minister focused on the human right situation in Georgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which according to him, remains of grave concern “especially when no international monitoring mechanisms, including the UN human rights machinery, are allowed to the regions.”

Janelidze emphasized that the illegally erected artificial obstacles along the occupation line “continue to affect the everyday life of the local population.” “These disruptive steps are directed against the Georgian Government’s policy of engagement and aim at the full isolation of the occupied regions from the international community,” he added.

Janelidze stated that despite these “artificial barriers,” fellows from the occupied territories are “an integral part of Georgia’s history and future.”

“There will be a day when IDPs and refugees – victims of the several waves of ethnic cleansing – will return in safe and dignified manner to their homes and fully re-integrate with their brothers and sisters, creating a vibrant society where human rights and individual freedoms as well as cultural and linguistic diversity are top priorities,” Janelidze added.

Foreign Minister highlighted that the Government “firmly pursues” the engagement, confidence building and reconciliation process with the population living in the occupied territories. “We stand ready to share all benefits of the policies and reforms introduced by the Government of Georgia,” Janelidze stated.

During his visit to Switzerland, Mikheil Janelidze also met with the High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and held several bilateral meetings with his visiting counterparts.