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IDPs “not content” with temporary stopping of evictions

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, December 21
Following the statement of the Ministry of IDPs from the occupied territories, accommodation and refugees of Georgia about “delaying” the date of the eviction of the IDPs living in compact settlements in Tbilisi, the IDPs have demanded yesterday the legalization of the living space they are living in, or giving alternative spaces “as promised.”

Speaking at the rally held jointly by the IDPs living in Chkheidze street #8 and the Conservative Party representatives, the member of the opposition political party, Lasha Chkhartishvili said “delaying the eviction date until January 15 is no privilege for them and the Government should meet their demands.” According to Chkhartishvili, some 5000 IDPs are under the threat of eviction. “They are offered living spaces in remote villages, which is no good for the IDPs,” the opposition politician said.

Chkartishili called on the ruling administration to “meet their pre-election promises” and satisfy the demand of the IDPs on either legalizing their current living spaces, or allotting alternative space for them. “At the same time, in the second case, the government should take into consideration the demands of the internally displaced persons,” he added. Chkhartishvili told journalists that the next rally of the IDPs will be held on Tuesday at the Parliament building and called on Tbilisi residents to join the demonstration.

Leader of the Free Georgia Party, Kakha Kukava said the Government delayed the date of evictions in order to make the IDPs change their mind about participating in Tuesday’s rally. Speaking at a special press conference on December 20, Kukava said the ruling administration is “afraid of a large-scale demonstration of the IDPs.” “They are afraid that the IDPs might put tents at the New Year tree [in Tbilisi] and attract the attention of international organizations,” Kukava suggested “that’s why the government took the decision to delay the eviction process,” he added. According to Kukava, the IDPs have no official document about the delay of evictions. “The IDPs are not content with just delaying the evictions and demand a complete halt to this process,” the leader of Free Georgia said.

On December 17 the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and refugees of Georgia announced a temporary delay in the process of evictions of the IDPs in Tbilisi. The decision was made based on the demand of the IDPs, the Ministry said. At the same time, the Ministry said that some of the IDPs, which are holding rallies together with the opposition parties, have already been given living spaces. “Moreover, some of them have several flats, however together with some opposition parties, they are demanding additional spaces, ”the statement of the Ministry reads “the families which have already been given living spaces cannot get them several times. The Ministry should be just and it cannot let it be the case that some IDPs have nothing at all, and some have several flats,” it continued.

The Parliamentary opposition has criticized the government over the “New Year evictions”. Leader of the By Ourselves Party, MP Paata Davitaia demanded stopping the eviction process, saying that “with such an attitude towards the IDPs, the government is violating the strategy which it has adopted previously.” The IDPs, together with the opposition parties held rallies in front of the Parliament and the IDPs Ministry building last week.