Round Table on Activation of Ossetian Community, Confidence Building and Conflict Transformation

On 16 October 2015 the Public Defender held a round table on the issues of activation of the role of the Ossetian community, confidence building and conflict transformation. The state of the Ossetian community in Georgia, the efforts of the Public Defender's Office for protection of their rights, the experience of the Ossetian civil organizations in terms of confidence building between the communities split by conflict and the challenges facing these organizations, as well as the need for support from international organizations for engagement of the Ossetian community in the peace process, were discussed at the meeting.

"There are a lot of problems; it's time for the Government to start working intensively on promotion of education, culture and identity of the Ossetian community. It is important to engage the community in political and public life", - said Ucha Nanuashvili at the opening of the event.

The Public Defender annually reflects the problems of people living in the conflict regions in his parliamentary reports. In addition, a special report has been prepared about the needs of the people living along the dividing line. Active discussions are underway on restoration of citizenships and a survey is planned to be held on the issue of restitution.

The meeting focused on the detention, imprisonment and safety of the people living along the dividing line. The sides talked about the residents of the Georgian-controlled territories which are now kept in Tskhinvali prison on various charges. In addition, it was noted that there are about ten Ossetian prisoners in the Rustavi and Ksani prisons on the Georgian-controlled territory, which demand to be "exchanged" or to be transferred to Tskhinvali.

Since 2014 the Public Defender's Office has been actively involved in the protection of rights of conflict-affected communities. In January 2014 the Public Defender set up an Ossetian forum, which is a consultative body in the field of Ossetian community rights in Georgia. Today’s event was a result of cooperation with that very forum.

Representatives of local and international non-governmental and governmental organizations took part in the round table.

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