News

Internal refugees forced out of their homes

by | Jun 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Nodar is a refugee from Abkhazia, the breakaway Georgian republic. He has lived with his family in an old hospital in Tbilisi.

But in 2010, Nodar was informed that they had to vacate their home the next day. “They promised that we will have good conditions and they will take care of everything,” Nodar said.

Nodar and his family moved to Partskhanakanevi, a remote village in western Georgia, nearby Abkhazia.

“There was terrible moisture in the house, we were freezing in winter, we had natural gas, but there was no electricity, no water,” Nodar tells DFW.

“My wife got ill. There was no sewerage system and all the sewerage was gathering in the yard. There was nothing around, nothing to do, nowhere to work, only half-empty village.”

Nodar and his family left their house in Partskhanakanevi and came back in Tbilisi. They now live with relatives and are not going to return to that village.

Nodar’s family is not the only one who was evicted from their homes.

There are over 260 000 IDPs in Georgia after two wars in the early 90s and the brief and crushing war of August 2008 with Russia. Before the presidential elections in 2008, President Mikheil Saakashvili promised that he would legalize their living quarters. After the elections, mass evictions started.

The Refugee Ministry does not publish numbers of how many IDPs have been evicted.

IDPs still living in Tbilisi demand to legalize the places, where they live now. The political party Future for Georgia organized its third demonstration at the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia on June 19.

“If the Ministry ignores please from IDPs, they plan to go on hunger strike,” Georgi Laghidze, the head of party said.

At first Levan Sigua, the Deputy Head of the Registration Insurance Department met them. He denied that there had been neglect, and claimed that every individual or collective case is discussed at the Ministry.

Jemal Guledani, one of the participants of the demonstration claims that he visited Levan Kokaia, the head of Registration Division at the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation over 50 times, but his problem is still unsolved.

IDPs claim they are asked to apply to the Ministry, but nobody answers such letters.

Kristine Pangani, an IDP from Abkhazia, says that she was evicted from her home with her infant and they are still homeless. She repeatedly appealed to the Ministry but every time different persons advised Kristine to live with her brother or other relatives. During the last visit she says she was insulted.

A representative of refugee minister Koba Subeliani met the IDPs.

“I can’t promise that we will solve all the problems in a short time, but we can meet every other day and discuss every case step by step,” he said.

Giorgi Laghidze told DF Watch that he called after two days, but nobody met and talked with him.

IDPs now plan to wait one more week and if they still are being ignored they will begin a hunger strike.



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