The Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, Thomas Hammarberg, is touring areas damaged by the fighting between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
Today, Hammarberg was in Tskhinvali, the capital of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia. He is also visiting the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz, as well as Gori and other cities in Georgia.
The French news agency AFP quotes Hammarberg as saying, "What happened a couple of weeks ago here should never be repeated." It was an "insult to people's human rights," he said after meeting the city's residents, who told him they were grateful for Russia's military action.
Hammarberg is preparing a report on rights violations during the conflict and will present his recommendations to Tbilisi and Moscow. He said his trip is also aimed at ensuring the "unhindered access" of humanitarian assistance
“Sadly, this conflict has already caused many victims” Hammarberg said in a statement. “It is urgent that all parties involved in the conflict take the necessary measures to guarantee the respect of the European Convention on Human Rights and restore a peaceful situation where all civilians have free access to the necessaries of life."
The Council of Europe
, Europe's top human rights body, has said that rights violations committed by both Russia and Georgia must not go unpunished.