Remarks Following the Adoption of a UN General Assembly Resolution on the Status of IDPs and Refugees in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia

Ambassador Chris Lu
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
June 8, 2022


The United States is pleased to co-sponsor and support this resolution.  Over a decade ago, Russia’s aggression upended the lives and livelihoods of millions of Georgian civilians.  Many of these individuals remain unable to return to their pre-conflict lives and homes.  Ordinary citizens’ lives were upended as a direct consequence of a brutal and unjustified war of choice by Russia, and while their suffering continues, Russia’s aggression has expanded into Ukraine.

The United States fully supports Georgia’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, just as we support the territorial integrity of all UN Member States. Russia’s military presence in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia violates the territorial integrity of Georgia and undermines Georgia’s sovereignty, threatening not just Georgia but also the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and our collective security. 

We call on Russia to cease its recognition of the so-called independence of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are integral parts of Georgian territory.  We also call on Russia to fulfill its obligation under the 2008 ceasefire agreement to withdraw its forces to pre-conflict positions, and to allow and facilitate unhindered access for humanitarian organizations.  

Further, Russia and the de facto authorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia need to take immediate steps to respect human rights, cease construction of barriers along the administrative boundary lines, and create security conditions conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified, and unhindered return and reintegration of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.

Across the globe, the United States supports the human rights, dignity, and humanitarian needs of IDPs and refugees.  We are alarmed by the increasing number of ongoing, urgent, and in many cases completely avoidable conflict-driven crises involving human rights violations, abuses, and limits on humanitarian access.  We welcome the UN Secretary-General’s Action Agenda on Internal Displacement.  With forced displacement and humanitarian needs reaching unprecedented levels year after year, there is no time to waste.  We encourage the UN to strengthen its vision for improving protection and assistance for IDPs and create incentives for development and peacebuilding actors and affected states to increase their efforts to meet IDPs and refugees’ needs.  We must all do our part and promote durable solutions.

The United States is focused on the plight of IDPs and refugees displaced from the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and all others whose lives and homes have been destroyed by Russia’s unnecessary war of choice in Georgia.  And now we must also fear for the lives and livelihoods of the people forced to flee Russia’s unnecessary war of choice in Ukraine. We urge the General Assembly to adopt the resolution on Georgian IDPs and refugees, and to continue to protect the principles enshrined in the UN Charter.

Thank you.