Two men, arrested by the police during a scuffle while evicting internally displaced persons from one of the temporary shelters in Tbilisi, received 14-day jail sentence after the Tbilisi City Court found them guilty of disobedience to the police and petty hooliganism.
An activist from the opposition Conservative Party Gia Kruashvili and chairman of movement for IDPs’ rights Manuchar Sigua were among the group of people who turned out at the temporary shelter in Bagebi neighborhood in Tbilisi to protest against eviction of IDPs. Scuffle broke out with the police when IDPs’ supporters and some of their relatives tried to enter inside the building, which was sealed off by the police.
Tbilisi City Court also found guilty of disobedience to the police orders three women, arrested in the same incident; they were released after being fined with GEL 400 each.
Internally displaced persons were evicted on January 20 from two temporary shelters in Tbilisi. The authorities say families were provided with appropriate compensation – either financial compensation or houses in the provinces. But some IDP families complained that they had not received any compensation; they also said that resettlement in the provinces, where the authorities offer them housing, would amount to depriving them source of income because of lack of job opportunities in the regions.
Legal and human rights advocacy group, Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) said in a statement on January 20, that it was “an insult to dignity” when cargo trucks were also used to transport evicted families.
“We strongly condemn such attitude towards the displaced people,” it said.
GYLA also said that at the time of eviction IDP families were not provided with financial compensation, which, it said, was a violation of procedures set out by the government itself. In case of a refusal to accept alternative housing provided by the authorities, an IDP family is eligible to USD 10,000 financial compensation, which should be received ten days before the eviction from temporary shelter.
There are at least 20 other buildings in Tbilisi from which, the authorities say, internally displaced persons should be resettled.
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