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IDPs' furious about potential eviction

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, December 16
Hundreds of IDPs facing the danger of eviction from their temporary shelters held a protest rally in front of Tbilisi City Council on December 15. IDPs, encouraged by the Public IDP Movement and other oppositional parties, demanded legalization of appropriate accommodation and the abolition of the eviction process from the Government. According to information released by the Chairman of the Public IDP Movement Davit Malazonia, around 5000 IDPs living at different locations have received a warning to leave their homes. If they won’t leave their shelters within 10 days, they will be forced to do so.

Asking international organizations and the diplomatic corps to become actively engaged in the monitoring of IDPs rights, members of Free Georgia, chaired by Kakha Kukava spoke of a violation of the people’s rights by the Georgian Government. “Around 45 compact settlements of IDPs received special notes about their resettlement without any signature or seal, thus these notes didn’t follow any legal standards and was a violation of rights of the executive power. It will be the shame of the capital of Georgia if we allow the Government and police to treat these people just in the same way as the occupant armies had done 18 years ago,” Kukava stated. Free Georgia encouraged Tbilisi citizens to express their support to IDPs who may see the New Year homeless.

Special warnings referred to families living at Varketili, Saburtalo, Tbilisi Sea, Kipshidze, Tashkenti Street where they had been living in unused buildings for years. Assuming that the Government of Georgia has planned to sell these objects, IDPs are opposed to being exiled to the villages of Samegrelo and Kakheti due to lack of relevant living conditions there. According to Malkhaz Gergiani from Kodori Gorge, the Ministry of Internally Displaced People from Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia (MRA) has not provided most IDPs with the promised subsidies of USD 10 000, while the old people having received the money used it for medicine.

“The MRA had been proving they have no money for subsidies (which the IDPs needed for buying the houses) moreover they are going to move us from our shelters at Chkheidze No 8 where we, the 20 family had been lodged after the August War,” Gergiani worried. IDP Bachuki Tsavani has been among the families which have not received the Government compensation due to lack of money at MRA.

IDPs opposing their resettlement have only been verbally offered alternative spaces by MRA according to Alexander Shalamberidze from People’s Party. Stressing that there are practically no buildings in the regions offered by the Government, Shalamberidze stated that the rally would have been aimed at the final exile of the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili from Georgia. The next IDP rally is planned to be held in front of the Parliament on December 17.

Analyst Malkhaz Chemia explained that the state policy is partially right concerning the state-owned damaged buildings but the compensation offered to IDPs living at such places should be relevant to their expenses. Stressing the necessity for creating the relevant conditions for adaptation of IDPs to the new environment, the analyst spoke of the need of their integration to the rest of society.

“Being offered new homes in regions, IDPs should also have an opportunity to start up their ordinary lives with relevant market conditions and jobs for supporting their families there. This issue needs a complex approach from the Government because there are lots of social problems with which the IDPs have to deal. Therefore, the Georgian Government should merge the amount necessary for buying relevant apartments with the social expenses of IDPs facing homelessness,” Chemia told The Messenger stressing that the Government had quite a long time to solve this problem.

According to Elena Ferretti, Associate Protection Officer of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the action plan on IDPs considers provision of IDPs affected by the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 and those displaced in 1990s with state compensation or shelters with profitable living conditions.