A building in Saburtalo district of Tbilisi, formerly hotel “Abkhazia”, which for over twenty years was housing families displaced as a result of conflict in South Ossetia in early 1990s, was emptied on August 15.
Eviction started in early hours on Monday after police sealed off the area around the collective center; trucks were sent to transport belongings of IDP families. Displaced families living in “Abkhazia” have been protesting in recent days against the eviction, but no incidents and clashes were reported with the police during the eviction on Monday.
One part of more than 270 displaced families left the building over the weekend after agreeing on USD 10,000 compensation offered by the authorities. As an alternative option to financial compensation, IDP families were offered a living space in Rustavi, town close to Tbilisi; an apartment building in Rustavi is currently under construction and the authorities say they would cover rent fee for those IDP families who will agree on settlement in Rustavi before the new apartment building is built there.
Although the authorities launched transferring some of the collective centers in ownership to IDP families living there, the same rule does not apply to some other collective centers in Tbilisi, especially to those, which have high real estate value; “Abkhazia” was among them, which already has a private investor.
A total of 1,248 displaced families were evicted from various buildings in Tbilisi in two rounds of evictions, between June 2010 and February 2011. In the new round of eviction fifty displaced families were evicted from four temporary shelters in Tbilisi this July as part of, what the authorities call, resettlement process in which evicted families are offered housing options in the provinces, mainly in remote areas from the capital city. In majority of cases alternative houses in the provinces are rejected by the IDP families, because of absence of proper livelihood conditions there.