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Socially vulnerable families in danger of losing shelter

By Ana Robakidze
Tuesday, July 3-
Socially vulnerable families living in the former building of the 13th public school in Tbilisi facing eviction do not intend to leave the building until they are provided with an alternative accommodation.

Some of the families have already left the building, but others decided to hold a protest rally. Reportedly, families will be provided with an alternative accommodation in Kojori.

According the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, Davit Darakhvelidze, these people had occupied the buildings illegally, so that there is no illegality in their eviction.

One of the ladies admitted that her family had illegally entered the building; however, she said this is only because they face extreme poverty and have nowhere else to go. Vakhtang Talakvadze, lawyer of this social vulnerable population said it is against the law to evict the families because they were not informed about eviction, but only warned that they have to leave the buildings.

Head of the public relations department of the Ministry, Eka Gulua, said the ministry had studied the personal files of the families living in the building and revealed that 15 families definitely do not have a shelter. Therefore the Ministry of Healthcare found appropriate accommodation for these families in Kojori, while the ministry of IDPs will ensure transportation of the families to the new living place.

The Ministry of IDPs addressed the Ministry of Economy with a query to assign some units so they could be turned into a living space for IDPs. In total, 32 units have been assigned to the Ministry of IDPs– the former building of the 13th public school is one of those units.

However, the families declared that they do not believe they will receive an accommodation, as the ministry has not provided any signed paperwork.

Lasha Chkhartishvili, one of the human rights defenders said the protesters will demand to have a moratorium announced on the process of eviction. In the case the protester’s demands are not met, the socially vulnerable and IDPs will have to continue their protest.

Socially vulnerable families are also supported by the Georgian non-governmental sector. Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC) released a special statement on July 29th and said that with the eviction process, the government has failed to fulfill the positive obligations it has in terms of human rights protections. The eviction process will leave around 70 families homeless.

EMC says the government failed to search for an alternative accommodation for the socially vulnerable families and therefore violated its obligations. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 11 states that “the State Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The State Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right.”

In the statement, the EMC reminds the government about the international standards and obligations and demands the eviction process to be suspended immediately, until the case of each family is investigated individually and the families are provided with an alternative accommodation.