HRC51- Item 10 General Debate – Statement by Estonia delivered by H.E Amb. Katrin Saarsalu-Layachi- 6 October 2022

Mr President,

Estonia fully aligns with the statement delivered by the European Union. We thank the Acting High Commissioner and Directors for the updates.

Estonia remains deeply concerned that in parallel with the Russian unprovoked and unlawful aggression against Ukraine and the attempted annexation of the occupied territories, the human rights situation in the regions of Georgia, in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, occupied by Russia 15 years ago, proceeds to deteriorate.

Allegations of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, illegal detentions and deprivation of liberty continue to mount up, whilst ethnic discrimination, particularly against Georgians, persist. Continued restrictions on the use of Georgian as a language at schools and kindergartens annually deprive some 5000 children in Abkhazia and South Ossetia of their right to receive education in their mother tongue.

Additionally, the information on recruitment of people from the occupied regions of Georgia to send them to fight in Russia´s war of aggression in Ukraine is extremely distressing and in violation of international law.

We reiterate our call to Russian Federation and the other de facto authorities to allow unimpeded access for international and regional human rights organizations and mechanisms to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

It is a matter of serious concern that no one has been held accountable for the tortures and deaths that have occurred. Lack of accountability contributes to a climate of impunity, which leads to further crimes. The human rights violations in the occupied regions of Georgia must come to an end, bringing all the perpetrators to justice.

I thank you.