Education International
Education International

Georgia-Russia conflict: humanitarian crisis growing

published 14 August 2008 updated 14 August 2008

The humanitarian crisis as a result of the conflict in Georgia is growing despite the declaration of a ceasefire and the commitment to the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Indications from reports in the international media are that sporadic violence is continuing to occur both in the disputed territories in Georgia and in other nearby parts of Georgia and that, as a result, increasing numbers of people are leaving their homes in the disputed region and looking for safer territory in Georgia itself or in North Ossetia.

During the conflict many teachers and their families were displaced and are seeking assistance from their unions. Many schools were destroyed or are being used to house refugees. Education International has made an initial contribution to humanitarian relief by sending a donation of €4,000 to the Educators and Scientists Free Trade Union of Georgia(ESFTUG), its largest member organisation in Georgia, for distribution to the many teachers seeking assistance at the doors of its head office in Tbilisi and of its regional offices. EI has also issued an urgent appeal for contributions from member organisations to its solidarity fund. The contributions will be channelled through the local teacher unions to provide humanitarian assistance to the teachers and to their families in all areas affected by the conflict.

EI has also called for a complete cessation of violence and the restoration of peaceful relations between the communities in the province of South Ossetia. This will only be possible when all military personnel withdraw and the local police are responsible for maintaining order. There is an obligation by the international community to act effectively to bring the violent conduct to a complete end.

In order to avoid disruption to the provision of education, EI has also requested that the authorities give priority to the re-establishment of the school system as soon as peaceful conditions are restored and asked that the international community provides assistance to that end.