IDPs set to be continuously applying to embassies for political asylum
27 January, 2011

A number of evicted IDPs sued
Not surprisingly, in the New Year’s Eve the Authorities had mercy on IDPs living in the capital and slightly postponed realization of their massive eviction plan. IDPs residing in up to 30 compact settlements of Tbilisi area received a warning from Subeliani’s Ministry to leave their residences within 10 days and be resettled in regions. The letter of warning sent out by the Ministry stressed that the IDPs would face forced eviction by police if they did not heed to the Ministerial order.
The Ministry has been offering alternative places to those IDP who do not have their own apartments. All alternatives – newly and fully refurbished reportedly - are located in the regions, not in the capital.
It turns out that the Ministry had devised standard operational procedures comprising visits to the compact resettlement places to deliver individual warning letters to those IDPs who do not own their own places of residence.
IDPs living in compact settlements of Tbilisi and a part of the opposition parties plan to set up camps in front of the Parliament and threaten with mass protests.
During one of such protest rallies, representatives of the opposition parties together with IDPs were loudly denouncing persecution and oppression of IDPs and demanding alternative places and jobs within Tbilisi area. The rally was joined by MP Gia Tsagareishvili who stated that the Authorities go on with persecution of citizens and that Potskho-Etseri village where the rehabilitation Center is located is a destitute place without even electricity (no matter that a hydropower station stands at the distance of 700 meters from there). The IDPs participating in the rally say that their relatives and close friends were evicted illegally; the police used force and no one knew where the poor evicted persons were scurried away.
Eviction of IDPs has started from Bagebi area of the Capital. Police called in to the former Student Residential Blocks currently hosting hundreds of IDP families early morning and demanded from them to leave the residences immediately. Many IDPs living there in three high rising old Soviet buildings lost their homes during the August war. They yielded to the police demands but this did not stop them protesting all along the way. They say most of them did not receive compensation and that they had formal documents allowing them to stay till their compensation. The opposition representatives turned up in Bagebi in the morning. In addition, the EU monitoring mission representatives also seemed to be present and watching on.
While the IDPs were being evicted, their relatives – IDPs themselves - started to arrive from other compact settlements but at the entrance of the area police clashed with them trying to block them off and avoid potential problems in eviction process. The confrontation did not last long even though IDPs managed to move away the police-planted mobile fence. One of the IDPs got sick and received emergency aid from the emergency medical team on the spot. According to initial reports, police detained up to 10 IDPs.
By mid-day, police left the area after several Lorries full of IDP items moved out. Later Georgian Ministry of Refugees and Resettlement released a statement accused representatives of opposition parties of instigating violence and disobedience among IDPs by directly involving themselves in the action.
“Representatives of certain opposition parties artificially galvanized situation. They call IDPs not to leave the area, offending policeman verbally and physically who have to maintain public order. This sort of provocations led to the arrest of several IDPs,” – noted the Ministry.
Ministry explained that these residential blocks had to be emptied as the IDPs lived there illegally. However, no one would be left homeless, they claimed in the Ministry. The evicted IDPs are offered alternative residences in regions, namely in Kakheti (eastern Georgia) and Samegrelo (western Georgia).
According to the organizers of the protests, IDPs will permanently approach embassies of different countries and request political asylum from them. The idea belongs to IDPs themselves. After a while, Tbilisi City Court heard the case of the IDPs detained during the earlier confrontation. Of the five detained IDPs, two were penalized with two week long administrative imprisonment, while the rest were fined with 400 Lari each.
Another protest rally gathered 300 people. First to address the rally were representatives of Conservatives and Free Georgia. They called the people to unite and noted that they would carry the cause to the end.
The rally participants talked about the eviction of IDPs from Bagebi Student Residential Blocks. Police did not even allow a relative of one of the evictees to enter and help the evictee carry out a toddler. The stage was given to Merab Arghvliani, one of the victims of the Bagebi eviction. He was taken to one of the region on a lorry with little children and wife.
“When we arrived there, I saw no light, no gas, nothing around there. I returned by the same lorry. Whatever luggage I have, I staffed them in cellars in Bagebi. I slept out at the entrance. My sister sheltered my children. I will fight for my rights for some time. If I fail I would cross into Abkhazia. If Russians allow me to cross the border into Kodori, I would settle and live in my house as before. At least one thing would be certain for me that my children would not die out of hunger. I would work for my family to subsist,” – he said.
According to the statement of the Ministry, they individually studied every family in cooperation with partners and found out that not all the IDPs living in the buildings need re-settlement because some of them seemed to have received compensation from the State: they either were granted homes in official collective centers or received financial compensation.
Despite such a warm statement of the Ministry, the fact is the country hosts IDPs who ask various embassies for political asylum or are taking much risk out of despair and intend to cross into Abkhazia…

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