Sep 18, 2008

Abkhazia: UN Agencies to Visit

Active ImageA UN mission will gather information concerning the humanitarian and human rights situations in Abkhazia.

Below is an article published by Reuters :

A group of U.N. humanitarian agencies will visit Abkhazia [..] to assess the situation after its war with Russia last month, the United Nations said on Tuesday [16 September 2008].

Russia invaded Georgia last month [August 2008] to thwart an attempt by the Georgian military to retake the region of South Ossetia, which, like another Georgian area known as Abkhazia, [declared independence] from Tbilisi in the early 1990s.

The brief war left many thousands of Georgians displaced and unable to return home. The United Nations has had difficulty getting into Russian-occupied areas, though Moscow has said this was because U.N. officials lacked paperwork or failed to arrange their visits through proper channels.

"The objective of the mission is to gain first-hand knowledge of the humanitarian and human rights situations and needs on the ground, including the position of those displaced by the conflict and other vulnerable groups," the U.N. press office said in a statement.

Russia has accused Tbilisi of waging a campaign of "genocide" against the South Ossetians. Georgia in turn charged Russia with supporting "ethnic cleansing" throughout South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Russian-occupied parts of Georgia outside the rebel regions, forcing ethnic Georgians to flee en masse.

Moscow has recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, whose populations are largely ethnically distinct from Georgians, as independent states.

The mission will be led by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The mission will also visit other areas affected by the war, including the Georgian city of Gori and the capital Tbilisi. The U.N. officials will also travel to Moscow.

The United Nations also said it also planned a "broader fact-finding mission to the region." It gave no details.