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Amnesty International on IDPs in Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Friday, August 6
On August 5 Amnesty International introduced its publication 'In the waiting room: Internally displaced people in Georgia' to the general public. The documents outline how thousands of people displaced during the conflicts struggle to access basic services. In a report of recommendations aimed at raising the Georgian government’s awareness about the security of displaced people, Transparency International called on the Georgian government to protect the rights of the nearly a quarter of a million of displaced people as a result of conflicts over the past two decades.

The Georgian authorities must do more than the bare minimum to provide adequate housing, employment and access to health care to those displaced in conflicts in the 1990s and the war with Russia in August 2008, Amnesty International said in a report. “Amnesty International has been working on this report for more than a year with the aim of studying two large groups of IDPs – from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It was not an easy process but we tried to highlight the main priorities, focusing on the most pressing issues faced by displaced people - housing, employment, access to health and benefits,” Keti Khutsishvili, Executive Director of Amnesty International told the media at the press conference.

Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director shared the main aspects and recommendations with the Georgian government and the international community. “The pain of IDPs unable to return remains a daily reality for the two hundred thousand people in Georgia today - people displaced by the conflict of the 1990s and War of 2008. However the difficult memories of the past are matched by their current harsh living conditions, denying them of the right to live in dignity. This report that we are issuing today analyses the situation about the IDPs on the ground and focuses on the obligations of the Government of Georgia to respect, detect and fulfill their economic and social rights,” Duckworth said stressing that the Georgian government should give the IDPs the maximum support by helping them to settle and find employment.

“Many of those who fled their homes nearly two decades ago are living still in hospitals and military barracks that lack basic hygienic conditions and privacy. Some of the new settlements are located in rural areas lacking the essential infrastructure to build a sustainable community and many displaced people have told us how these issues are directly affecting their lives. This report contains a number of recommendations to the Georgian authorities and the international community. We had an opportunity to discuss the some of the issues with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Affairs and later we are meeting the Minister of Refugees and Accommodation. We hope that they will see our recommendations as constructive and implement them,” concluded Duckworth.

The Georgian Government, according to the report, has taken important steps, but housing solutions have to go hand-in-hand with health care, employment and livelihoods opportunities. Natalia Nozadze, a Georgian expert spoke in detail about the ways to fully integrate the tens of thousands of its citizens still living in limbo. “There had been no state strategy on the IDPs in our country for around 17 years but in 2007, with international assistance, the Georgian government started to devise and implement programmes to provide durable housing to those displaced. The state policy is oriented on support which is the direct way to get rid of the IDPs' problems,” explained Natalia Nozadze. She added that the reintegration of IDPs and the defense of their rights are Governmental initiatives aimed at ensuring the IDPs' interests before the final return to their homes.