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Minister: Opponents 'Politicize' IDPs Eviction
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 23 Jan.'11 / 23:55

Koba Subeliani, the minister in charge of IDP issues, said the opposition was trying "to score political points" from eviction of displaced families, who had "illegally occupied" some buildings in Tbilisi.

Authorities resumed eviction of internally displaced persons from 22 buildings in Tbilisi on January 20. IDP families were evicted from four buildings in Tbilisi in July and August of last year.

Subeliani told the Georgian public broadcaster's weekly program, Accents, on Sunday, that buildings - some state-owned and some privately owned - from where IDPs were evicted or would be evicted, were occupied by them two years ago after the August war "illegally". There are families displaced both from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Subeliani said that instead of calling on evicted IDP families to accept alternative housing options in the provinces, offered by the authorities, "opponents are politicizing this issue."

Only few evicted IDP families agreed to be resettled to the provinces, where they are offered houses in ownership. One of the major reasons cited by IDPs behind thier reluctance to move to the provinces is lack of job opportunities in the rural areas.

Koba Subeliani, the minister of internally displaced persons from the occupied territories, accommodation and refugees, said that the authorities, with the assistance of foreign donors, were offering small grants to resettled families to launch small agriculture businesses.

He also said that not a single resettled family would remain without proper compensation. "Some have already received financial compensation, others are in the process of receiving it and some will have own houses [in the regions]," Subeliani said.

In case of a refusal to accept alternative housing, an IDP family, displaced as a result of the August 2008 war, is eligible to USD 10,000 financial compensation, which should be received ten days before the eviction from temporary shelter in Tbilisi.

Public Defender, Giorgi Tugushi, said in a statement on January 21, that his office carried out monitoring of five locations in western Georgia, where the authorities are offering alternative housing to the evicted IDPs and found that “there are a number of problems that could influence the IDPs’ condition negatively.” He said that although buildings for alternative housing were renovated, the places of resettlement lacked necessary social facilities and infrastructure.

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