Honorary Georgian Consul Thelmo Cunanan aired the plight of Georgian refugees of the Abkhazia conflict during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco. The theme of this year’s summit was sustainable development. Consul Cunanan made the statement during a UN live-stream press conference, where he appeared together with UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and former Philippine Senator and climate change advocate Heherson Alvarez.
Consul Cunanan, an official representative of the South-South Cooperation Council and a director of UNESCO Earthsavers Artists for Peace, discussed the issue of the Georgian refugees in relation to war and conflict and its severe effects on the environment and climate change. In his narration, Consul Cunanan gave the background of the conflict, which has resulted in Georgia’s loss of territory and hundreds of thousands of Georgians who have been wrongfully displaced from their ancestral lands and are now living in temporary refugee camps.
In relation to this, Consul Cunanan presented the oil painting of famous Georgian artist Irine Chutkerashvili, whose family hails from Abkhazia. The image depicts the bunkhouses constructed by the government for Georgians who cannot return to their lands in the conflict areas. Before the press conference, the Chutkerashvili painting had stood on display for ten days at the international pavilion of COP22’s Blue Zone. Consul Cunanan also reiterated the position of the Georgian government and supported by the UN that these lands belong to Georgia and that the issue should be resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law.
Consul Cunanan frequently talks about the Georgian refugee crisis and has appeared in media outlets all over the Philippines in order to raise awareness of the issue.