BM77: ESU Calls for the Immediate Release of Georgian Physician and Lecturer

11.12.2019
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November 9, 2019, Russian border guards and security forces of the de facto authorities detained Dr. Vazha Gaprindashvili, a well-known Georgian physician, lecturer and president of the Georgian Association of Orthopedic Traumatologists. Dr Gaprindashvili is charged with “illegally crossing the border” into the Tskhinvali Region which carries a penalty of two months with risk of increasing up to two years of imprisonment. Dr Gaprindashvili crossed the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) into the village of Orchosani (under Russian control) to aid a patient as the closed border prevents the ill from seeking professional medical help. 

The European Students’ Union (ESU), in solidarity with the Georgian Student Organisations Association (GSOA), call for the immediate release of Dr. Vazha Gaprindashvili. We express our deep concern with the complete ban on movement at the occupation line of Georgia’s Russian-controlled Tskhinvali region. Closing crossing points create arbitrary and disproportionate restrictions for anyone to exercise their fundamental human right to freedom of movement, as recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) that can result in serious impacts on a range of civil, economic and social rights. This ban only serves to perpetuate tensions and expand the humanitarian crisis by undermining the human rights of local civilians. The de facto authorities in the Tskhinvali Region must open the closed crossing points over the ABL and respect and protect the rights of local civilians.

ESU and GSOA express their solidarity with fellow regional student unions including those from the Tbilisi State Medical University, where Dr. Gaprindashvili lectures. The detainment of a medical professional fulfilling his oath to provide treatment is not only immoral and unethical but goes against our principles as an organisation and as part of the Scholars at Risk Network. 

At a time of rising conflict and division across the world, it has never been more important for students and academics to stand united in protecting our fundamental freedoms of movement and expression, especially when fulfilling responsibilities towards improving the wellbeing of society and its citizens.  

Proposed by: EC, GSOA

Seconded by: LIS, NUS-UK, ANSA, BOSS, POFEN, SKRVS, ANOSR, FAGE, HOOK, CREUP, KSU, SKVS, NSO, UAS, ASM, UDU

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