The authorities resumed early on January 20 eviction of internally displaced persons from those temporary shelters in Tbilisi, which the officials say, were occupied by IDPs “spontaneously” without the permission.
Area around one such temporary shelter in Bagebi neighborhood was sealed off by the police from early hours on Thursday. A scuffle was reported with the police, when a group of supporters and relatives of those living in the building turned out at the site, trying to enter inside.
Another location from where the eviction started early on January 20 is a building formerly housing the customs department in Tbilisi outskirts.
According to the Ministry for Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, IDPs, both from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, who have moved into about two dozen buildings in Tbilisi without the government’s permission, will have to be moved out and resettled either to Samegrelo, Kakheti or Imereti region. According to the ministry, houses in those regions will be transferred in ownership to IDPs.
There have been series of evictions of IDPs from several state-owned buildings in Tbilisi this summer – the way it has been done was criticized by local and international human rights groups. The process was suspended for several months; in December IDPs living in about two dozen of temporary shelters in Tbilisi were notified by the authorities that the resettlement would resume by late December, but it was postponed for January.
A group of IDPs, supported by some opposition parties, held series of rallies in recent weeks protesting against expected evictions. They say that resettlement in the provincial regions would leave them without any source of income, because housing options in the regions, offered by the authorities, lack livelihood opportunities.
According to the ministry in charge of the IDP issues, up to now about 10,000 families displaced from Abkhazia in early 90s were granted houses in ownership in the capital city. The ministry officials say that there are not enough resources to provide everyone with dwelling space in Tbilisi.
Conservative Party and Party of People, the two opposition groups which led series of protests by the IDPs, called for a rally outside the Parliament on January 20.