Georgia resumes mass eviction of refugees

January 21st, 2011 - 1:41 am ICT by BNO News  

TBILISI, GEORGIA (BNO NEWS) — Georgia on Thursday resumed the mass eviction of internally displaced persons (IDP) that settled in temporary shelters in Tbilisi, GHN news agency reported.

Law enforcement agents began the eviction operation in several districts of capital. Police issued a warning for the IDP on Wednesday but no time limit was set. The operation focuses on refugees at the building of the Customs Department in Orkhevi and in the student dormitory in Bagebi.

The temporary shelter in Bagebi was cordoned off by police after a group of supporters and relatives showed up and clashed with law enforcement agents. No injuries were reported as the group attempted to enter the building.

The Ministry for Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories informed that the IDPs that are being evicted came from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. However, they settled without the government’s permission in two dozen buildings in Tbilisi.

The Georgian government intends to relocate the refugees to Samegrelo, Kakheti and Imereti provincial regions. In recent weeks, IDPs supported by opposition parties have held a series of protests against the evictions.

Conservative Party and Party of People, the two opposition groups that backed the refugees, called for a mass protest outside the Parliament on January 20. They claim that the resettlement in the provincial regions would be harmful as there is a lack livelihood opportunities for IDPs there.

The refugees fled Abkhazia and South Ossetia during the Georgia-Russia armed conflict in 2008. They were given papers that indicate that refuges have a right to live there till they get compensation from government.

Georgia’s Refugees Ministry accused the Conservative Party and Party of People of spreading groundless and false information regarding the evictions. This information deprives the refugees to think out and to take a decision, according to the Refugees Ministry.

The government body remarked that the process of refugees’ resettlement is being conducted in accordance with the state strategy and procedures worked out with international organizations.

The refugees’ evictions were halted temporarily during the New Year holidays. Sozar Subari chairman of Georgian Party said that the refugees that have been resettled last year are living in poverty as they were deceived by government.

“Here is no possibility for education for children no school, no kindergarten no gross story. Electricity is a big problem. At the same time the village is far distant from the center,” said Sozar in regards to the Potskhoetseri village where IDPs were settled in October 2010.

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