10. jaanuar 2015

Kõne Gruusia okupeeritud aladest Euroopa Nõukogu Parlamentaarsel Assambleel

Kõne 01.10.2014 Strasbourgis Euroopa Nõukogu Parlamentaarsel Assambleel Gruusia olukorra raporti kohta. Kõne teenis saalist aplausi.

Dear Mrs President, dear collegues,

The starting point of any discussion on Georgia has to be, that we have to continue and strengthen our efforts to protect the territorial integrity of Georgian state. We should not forget, that very recently Georgia was victim of similar aggression that Ukraine is today and the government of Georgia does not actually control part of its territory due to attacks by Putins regime.
This is not only foreign policy or security policy question, this is also human rights question. It is truly regrettable that as a result of this aggression more than 6 years ago, there are so-called grey spots on the European continent, where no international organisation or human rights expert can enter to observe, what is the actual human rights situation on the ground. In this context recently presidential elections in Abkhazia cannot be called more than a simple farce, that has to be condemned by the international community, also clearly within this report.

Ladies and gentleman, the security situation in Europe has changed. In this changed security situation in Europe we have to be very careful while tackling the similar issues in democracy questions in Georgia, which we have seen in Ukraine. Let me put it in a very simple way – we saw Putins regimes attacks to the territorial integrity of Georgia in 2008 and now we have an ongoing war in Ukraine due to same reasons.
We have seen president Janikovitsh’es oppressions towards his political opposition, and we can see similar attacks in Georgia now.

It is utmost important, that we will without any doubt  give clear support of Georgia's multiparty democracy. Of course, for any party in opposition the democracy seems to be weaker during the time in opposition and to the party in coalition the situation with democracy seems always better, but this is not the issue in Georgia. We must be concerned by the continued investigations and criminal charges against opposition figures and the risks that politicized prosecutions would pose for Georgia’s democracy. Georgia’s democratic development must include respect for political pluralism and open debate, and all kinds of the political prosecutions and crackdown of the opposition should not be tolerated.
The report  does not adequately describe what is going on in Georgia, which – by any meaningful measure – includes a backsliding of democracy.

The way in which events unfolded in Ukraine offers many lessons to Georgia. One lesson is that democratic backsliding always benefits Russia. The road of cracking down on opposition is the road to Putin.

There are two particular challenges I would like to address - impartiality of justice and meedia freedom. First, the proceedings in sensitive legal cases, including against former government members, have revealed vulnerabilities and deficiencies in the justice system and they need to addressed. Society based on democratic values and rule of law cannot be built unless prosecution of former government officials are conducted impartially, transparently and in full respect of the principles of a fair trial, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Secondly, Georgia is a free country when it comes to freedom of expression online and offline and online, considering the fact that freedom of expression is an enabler of many other rights this is very important. At the same time the reform on the media environment has been at times unnecessarily politicised, especially with regard to the reform of the public broadcaster. I have also taken a note on what the report says about the issue of transparency of media ownership, which is key in safeguarding free media.  

But again - Georgia is a country in war, parts of its territory is occupied by Putin’s regime. This document is not supposed to deal with it so much and our Assembly has created a separate file on "Consequences of War Between Georgia and Russia" and three resolutions has been adopted, which cemented set of demands on Russia. In 2011 the file was closed, but the resolutions remained in force, although gradually weakening.  Our task here today is also to endorse of the adopted resolutions. 
Our plenary sitting should urge all of Georgia’s pro-democracy and pro-European forces to focus on their common interests, build on recent achievements, and work together to move the country forward and address the pressing economic and regional security challenges of the day.

I would like call on to the EU and other western partners to keep their doors open to a dynamic country that is positively transforming. Free trade agreement with EU and its fast implementation should just be seen as a first step in the integration of Georgia in European and North-Atlantic structures.

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