The Resolution on “The Role of Local and Regional Governments in Protecting Internally Displaced Persons” was adopted during the 37th Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

31 October

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe met in Strasbourg, France, on 29-31 October 2019, for its 37th plenary Session. During the session the resolution on “The Role of Local and Regional Governments in Protecting Internally Displaced Persons” (IDPs) was adopted.

The Georgian delegation proposed the amendment reflecting continuing Russian illegal military presence in two regions of Georgia - Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, where the local population is deprived of their fundamental rights. The congress supported the resolution by 100 votes in favor and 12 against.

Earlier, in June 2019, during the Current Affairs Committee Meeting Mr. Giorgi Tkemaladze, Vice-President of NALAG and Chairman of Tbilisi City Assembly, member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe proposed the amendment that was adopted by the congress.

Ms. Tamar Taliashvili, the Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe stated that this resolution is the result of coordinated work.

"I would like to point out that this resolution is a victory for Georgian diplomacy. We have been working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia for a long time and the adopted resolution is the result of a joint work. In addition to showcasing critical position on Russian aggression and ongoing occupation, the document provides information on the consequences of this aggression as well as actions taken to protect social and fundamental rights of internally displaced persons” - stated Ms. Taliashvili.

The document states that, in the case of Georgia, close to half a million IDPs and refugees from the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia expelled during the armed hostilities in the 1990s and during the August 2008 Russo-Georgian war, continue to be deprived of their fundamental right to safe and dignified return to their places of origin. The continuing Russian illegal military presence in the two Georgian regions is cause for restriction of freedom of movement by the so-called “borderisation” process which complicates access to healthcare and education as well as family links creates a risk for a further wave of forcible displacement.

The document also focuses on the role of local and regional authorities and the importance of political accountability in the integration, inclusion and protection of IDPs. Georgia's successful experience is highlighted in terms of prioritizing and budgeting for internally displaced women, as well as establishing joint working groups in conflict-affected municipalities.

The Delegation to 37th plenary session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe was composed of Mr. Giorgi Tkemaladze – Vice-President of NALAG and Chairman of Tbilisi City Assembly, member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Ms. Tamar Taliashvili - Vice-President of NALAG and Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Ms. Sevdia Ugrekhelidze – member of Mtskheta City Council, member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe  and Ms. Nino Kavtaradze - member of Rustavi City Council, member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.

It is noteworthy that Georgia introduced a new delegation to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in February 2018. Mr. Kakha Kaladze, President of NALAG is the head of the delegation.