Amnesty International said eviction of internally displaced families from temporary shelters in summer 2010 and January, 2011 "constituted forced evictions" in violation of local and international norms.
In a 28-page briefing published by the rights group on August 5, the Amnesty International called on the Georgian authorities to stop forced evictions and not to repeat the same mistakes in the new series of evictions, which started in July.
The rights group's report, Uprooted again: Forced Evictions of Internally Displaced Persons in Georgia, is detailing a pattern of forced evictions in June-August 2010 and January 2011.
"Amnesty International is concerned that these evictions failed to satisfy international standards relating to adequate consultation, notice, access to legal remedies and the offer of adequate alternative accommodation to all those evicted," the rights group said. "The way in which these evictions were carried out amounted to another displacement for many of those involved."
A total of 1,248 displaced families were evicted from temporary shelters in two rounds of evictions, between June 2010 and February 2011. 440 of these families were offered financial compensation; 450 were registered in other collective centers, and therefore were told to return to their original places of registration following the evictions; 79 were IDP families registered in the private sector, who qualified for housing assistance at a later stage.
According to the ministry in charge of IDPs, out of a total of 279 families who qualified for the relocation offer at the time of eviction, 76 accepted the offer to relocate to the settlements in the regions, others declined.
Amnesty International said that although in overall the evicted families were offered to be relocated to "better quality flats" in the provinces, their relocation to areas with "limited employment and livelihood opportunities means that these families no longer have the ability to earn income and support themselves".
The rights group, however, also noted that those displaced families who were relocated to Potskho-Etseri in Samegrelo region during the June-August 2010 eviction process, "have been provided with housing that does not meet international standards relating to habitability."
The report says that since 2007 when the Georgian government first began to officially acknowledge local integration as a long-term solution to the plight of the displaced, a number of legislative and practical steps have been taken with the aim of improving the living conditions of displaced persons, involving renovating collective centers and transferring living spaces into the ownership of displaced families.
"However Amnesty International is concerned that in some cases, plans to resettle displaced people have resulted in forced evictions in violation of Georgia’s obligations under international law," the report says.
"The recent attempt to resettle displaced people from the capital to rural areas shows that the government’s policies have been highly disruptive and, for many of those resettled, not conducive to establishing sustainable long-term livelihoods," Amnesty International said.