Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Georgia: IDP Eviction Process Criticized

Source: Civil.ge

[The] 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.

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."

"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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