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IDP Eviction Process Criticized
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 17 Aug.'10 / 22:56

Recent series of evictions of displaced persons from state-owned buildings in Tbilisi and the way it is done, causes "tensions" and "dissatisfaction" among IDP community, as well as mistrust towards the ministry in charge of IDPs, which may complicate implementation of government's strategy and action plan aimed at providing durable housing to IDPs, the Georgian Public Defender said on August 17.

UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on August 13, that although organized relocation of IDPs may be necessary to provide them with durable housing solutions, "nevertheless UNHCR insists that any evictions arising from such relocation should be undertaken in full compliance with Georgian legislation, international standards and international human rights law."

In a period between July 26 and August 16 police evicted hundreds of IDPs from four various buildings in Tbilisi.

According to the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, displaced families are offered either financial compensation of USD 10,000 or alternative housing. IDPs say that they were offered accommodation in the rural areas, which was not acceptable for them because of lack of employment opportunities there.

The Public Defender's Office (PDO) said in a statement that it had identified number of problems while monitoring the eviction process, one of them related with giving a short notice to IDPs about the planned resettlement.

"In most of the cases, IDPs are notified about the eviction 5 days earlier," PDO said. "IDPs state that in majority of cases they were notified verbally, without providing any written document and explanation."

It also said that most of the IDPs lacked information about alternative housing the ministry was providing to them, which makes it "extremely difficult for IDPs to make an informed choice." The Public Defender's Office said that there were also cases when alternative accommodation "does not satisfy the minimum standards of living."
 
"According to the IDP community, eviction process is very insulting. There are cases of verbal as well as physical assault [on IDPs during the eviction]," the Public Defender's Office said.

A comprehensive report on IDPs in Georgia, released by Amnesty International on August 5, among other issues, identifies lack of consultation by the authorities with IDPs while taking decisions as one of the problems.

"They [IDPs] need to be consulted and be able to make the choices affecting their lives,” Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia programme director, said.

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