Another wave of IDP evictions in Tbilisi
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, July 19
The Ministry of IDPs and Resettlement of Georgia organized the eviction of IDPs from four different buildings in Tbilisi - the Religious Gymnasium, Clinic of Infection Diseases, a kindergarten and a college on July 18. As the Ministry’s official statement reads those people are being offered alternative houses and rooms in various regions of Georgia. The majority of those IDPs expressed discontent regarding the suggestion.
The eviction process has received varying coverage across Georgia. As leading Georgian TV channels underlined, the eviction process was very peaceful. According to them the evicted persons had been informed beforehand regarding the issue and their information was based on the Ministry’s statement concerning the issue, “those refugees who do not have living spaces of their own and live illegally in different parts of Tbilisi, have been offered repaired flats in Kakheti and Samegrelo regions, bearing in mind that the majority of those refugees are from Samegrelo region. Herewith, the Ministry will help them in different directions with various assistance projects,” MRA statement reads
A different picture has been painted in the Georgian online media, which displays that the refugees resisted the police and did not enable them to enter into the buildings. The police then had to forcibly open the iron door. The refugees stated that they were against the eviction as they had some income in Tbilisi and they did not know where and in which conditions they would have to live and were openly expressing discontent towards the current authorities. However there were also several who stated that they knew the evictions were happening and had accepted the reality.
As the Chair of the Press Service of the Ministry of Refugees, Eka Gulua told The Messenger, “the refugees had been warned regarding the issue ten days earlier,“ as she mentioned apart from satisfying the IDPs with living spaces there are different projects assisting the refuges to live and earn income in the regions, mainly projects which are related with agricultural work and forming small businesses.
According to the representative of the Georgian party, Sophio Khorguani, the authorities launched a process of banishment and not eviction of the IDPs, “the most problematic thing is the authorities' attitude regarding the refugees and the politics the Government is carrying out towards them. The ruling team is not interested in IDPs' viewpoints, no IDP is asked where he prefers to go, this is not right and against international norms", Khorguiani said.
The eviction process has been monitored by The UN mission in Georgia and the EU monitor mission. As they have mentioned, in general, the rights of IDPs have been protected during the eviction and that the organization will go on monitoring the issue, at the same time, they have appealed to the society to restrain from politicizing the issue.