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'There Is no Way to Peace; Peace Is the Way' - An Appeal to the Georgian Nation

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Mikhail Saakashvili does not have the right information on the Sorry Campaign

The Human Rights Centre began the Sorry Campaign in March, 2007. The aim of this campaign is to rehabilitate the relationships between Georgian and Abkhazian people. The campaign envisages confessing to mistakes made and mutual forgiveness.

The campaign is addressed to the civil society and ordinary people, including Georgians and Abkhazians. The main call of the campaign is "peaceful solution of the conflict."

In November 28, on a meeting with IDPs, Mikhail Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, stated that there are organizations in Georgia, which are trying to say sorry to Abkhazian people and take grants for it.

"They cut off the heads of Georgians, kicked them out of their houses, destroyed Georgian monuments, left Georgian children on the pass in winter from Abkhazia to Svaneti, and they crashed Georgian helicopters. After all these events, do you want us to apologize? Which international organizations do the people represent who are working on projects that envisage expressing repent towards Abkhazians? Who gives them grants for doing such stupid things?" stated Saakashvili.

As the Human Rights Centre is the only organization holding a campaign that aims to say sorry to Abkhazians, we think, that this statement was addressed to us.

It is necessary to say, that the Sorry Campaign does not mean that Georgians must apologize to criminals. The Sorry Campaign is the first step to rehabilitating relationships. We apologize because we could not stop the war; we could not resist the processes which developed in that period. We are all responsible for those hardships.

The HumanRightsCenter considered that it necessary to start the Campaign as representatives of the government and society from both sides approach the situation very negatively. This means that Georgians blame Abkhazians for everything and vice versa. We think that the mistakes were made by both sides and the conflict will not be solved if they do not acknowledge these mistakes. The position of our organization is as follows: it is necessary to start a dialogue, to put an end to the military hysteria and display of weapons.

It needs to be mentioned that the campaign is not financed. That is why the Human Rights Center will implement only those activities that do not require serious financial activities.

The statement of the former Georgian president can be considered as indirect pressure and a threat to our non-governmental organization that has been observing human rights violations in Georgia for years and has repeatedly demanded for an adequate response to them.

Besides, it is an attempt to prevent any facts of non violent solution of conflict by incorrect interpretation of our campaign The Criticism of  the peaceful activities gives the impression that the government chooses military way of solving the conflict notwithstanding that Georgia must return  not only the territory  of Abkhazia but Abkhazian people as well.

HumanRightsCenter considers that any military attempt of solving the conflict or call for reinstatement of military activities can not be justified and Georgian society must not admit it.

30 Jan. '08