Georgia: Partial progress towards durable solutions for IDPs
A 90 year-old displaced woman from Gali, Abkhazia, lives in a poorly maintained IDP shelter in the greater Tbilisi area. (Photo: Daron D'Souza, 2011)
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31 December 2012
There were up to 280,000 IDPs in Georgia as of the end of 2012. Most were displaced in the early 1990s as a result of conflict in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Renewed conflict between Georgia and the Russian Federation over South Ossetia in August 2008 caused another wave of displacement. The fighting was over in less than 10 days, but the underlying issues remain unresolved and South Ossetia and Abkhazia are effectively outside Georgia's control. The breakaway republics continue to oppose full-scale return on the basis that an influx of large numbers of Georgian IDPs would upset their ethnic balance and compromise the security of Ossetians and Abkhaz.
Of the total number of IDPs, most have been displaced since the 1990s and some were displaced again in 2008. In reality the number of people displaced in 2008 is likely to be higher than the official figure, given that the narrow definition of an IDP in Georgia law meant some were excluded from the count.
There are no figures for IDPs displaced within Abkhazia, but up to 50,000 people who fled the region in the 1990s have returned to their place of origin in Gali district over the years. There are also an estimated 10,000 IDPs in South Ossetia from both waves of conflict.
In 2012, inadequate housing remained one of the main outstanding issues for IDPs. Many continued to live in dilapidated collective centres, or in accommodation that they rented, owned or otherwise occupied, which in some cases was also substandard. Seeking a resolution to their poor housing situation, around 1,500 internally displaced families illegally occupied around 50 buildings in Tbilisi and other cities after the October 2012 parliamentary election. The ministry responsible for IDPs, and international organisations profiled the group and found that only some were eligible for government housing assistance. Others had already received support. By the end of the year, many had left because of the onset of winter.
The government continued to facilitate local integration and settlement elsewhere in Georgia by providing housing assistance to IDPs as part of its national strategy on internal displacement. This included the renovation and transfer of ownership of accommodation in collective centres, the construction of new apartments, the use of abandoned housing and the allocation of new social housing units.
The privatisation of collective centre space proceeded faster in 2012 than in previous years, benefiting around 7,650 families. In a further break with the past, the housing locations offered to IDPs tended to be in larger towns rather than remote rural areas with few economic opportunities.
The quality of some of the housing IDPs received was substandard with inadequate foundations, lack of proper insulation, unsafe wiring and poor sanitation. Many families who had signed agreements for their living space were still waiting to have their ownership registered, and access to livelihoods remained difficult as many sites were remote. The selection of beneficiaries for new housing continued to be less than transparent and many IDPs, including highly vulnerable families, are yet to benefit. A significant number of IDPs living in private accommodation are still to receive assistance to improve their housing.
The sustainability of returns remained questionable in 2012. Despite road repairs, infrastructure construction and humanitarian assistance in Abkhazia's Gali district, returnees faced poor housing conditions, insecurity and limited access to basic livelihoods and services. Near the administrative boundary line between Georgia proper and South Ossetia, the security and humanitarian situation improved, but returnees struggled to rebuild their homes and earn an adequate income. Returnees to Akhalgori struggled with insecurity, limited opportunities to generate income and poor access to health care services.
South Ossetia has been largely inaccessible for humanitarian organisations, whose work in Abkhazia remained challenging. The de facto authorities asserted their control by introducing additional administrative conditions on the delivery of assistance. The new Georgian government formed after the October 2012 elections has shown increased understanding of the need to separate political and humanitarian agendas.
The minister responsible for IDPs changed twice during 2012. The ministry adopted a revised action plan for the implementation of the national strategy on displacement. It alsBoelgsraedte out standards for the temporary relocation of IDPs during renovation of their living spaces, and formed an inter-agency working group to review legislation on IDPs.
The government has made good progress in implementing its 2007 strategy for internally displaced people (IDPs). Since 2008, it has made significant efforts in building and refurbishing housing, and set standards to guide the implementation process with the international community. This has improved the living conditions of many IDPs.
This housing assistance has met several challenges, however. Some IDPs received substandard new or refurbished housing and are still waiting for property titles as agreed. Timelines for housing assistance are ambitious, and measures are often taken without due planning or communication with IDPs. The majority of IDPs are yet to receive a housing solution, which includes the most vulnerable IDPs who have not been prioritised for support as well as those who have returned to their damaged homes. (...)
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21 March 2012
იძულებით გადაადგილებულ პირთა – დევნილთა (იგპ) მიმართ 2007 წლის სტრატეგიის განხორციელების პროცესში მთავრობამ საგულისხმო წარმატებას მიაღწია. 2008 წლიდან მან განსაკუთრებული ძალისხმევა გასწია საცხოვრებლების მშენებლობისა და განახლებისთვის და ჩამოაყალიბა სტანდარტები, რომლებიც გამოიყენება განხორციელების პროცესის წარმართვისთვის, რომელშიც საერთაშორისო საზოგადოებაა ჩართული. ამის შედეგად იძულებით გადაადგილებული მრავალი პირის ცხოვრების პირობები გაუმჯობესდა. (...)
2012 წლის 21 მარტი
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Internal Displacement Profile
"Causes and Background","Background","Causes of displacement"
"IDP Population Figures","Number of IDPs","Location(s) of IDP populations"
"IDP Population Movements and Patterns","IDP Population Movements and Patterns"
"Physical Security and Integrity","Physical security","dignity","mental and moral integrity ","Liberty and freedom of movement "
"Basic Necessities of Life","Food and water ","Shelter and housing","Medical care and sanitation"
"Property, Livelihoods, Education and Other Economic, Social and Cultural Rights","Land and Property","Employment and livelihood opportunities","Education"
"Family Life, Participation, Access to Justice and Other Civil and Political Rights","Family Life","Documentation and citizenship","Voting and participation in public affairs","Access to justice"
"Protection of Special Categories of IDPs (Age, Gender, Diversity)","Gender- Women and Men","Children","youth and elderly","Indigenous peoples","minorities","peasants","pastoralists and other groups with a special dependency on and attachment to their lands "
"Durable Solutions (Return, Local Integration, Settlement Elsewhere in the Country)","General background","Return following displacement in 2008","Return following displacement in the 1990s","Local integration","Settlement elsewhere in the country"
"National and International Response","International human rights and humanitarian law framework including references to the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement","National Response","International response","International Response"
Previous Profile updates
- Key Documents
- Law #335-IIS on Forcibly Displaced Persons - Persecuted from the Occupied Territories of Georgia, Government of Georgia, 23 December 2011
- Part Protracted, Part Progress: Durable Solutions for IDPs through Local Integration in Georgia, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), 8 June 2011
- Report of the Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Walter Kalin, Follow-up mission to Georgia, United Nations Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons (UNRSG), 23 December 2010
- Report on the Human Rights Situation of Internally Displaced Persons and Conflict-Affected Individuals in Georgia, Public Defender of Georgia, 30 September 2010
- IASC Framework on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons, Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, 30 April 2010
- Not Displaced, Out-of-Place, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), 29 March 2010
- Follow-up to the report on the mission to Georgia (A/HRC/13/21/Add.3), United Nations Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons (UNRSG), 14 January 2010
- Decree # 47 of the Government of Georgia on approving of the State Strategy for Internally Displaced Persons – Persecuted, Government of Georgia, 2 February 2007
- A Framework for National Responsibility (Georgian), Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, 30 April 2005
Long-term housing solutions of IDPs in Europe
With a focus on Armenia, Georgia and Serbia, IDMC outlines some of the best practices adopted in these countries with regards to securing long-term housing solutions for IDPs.
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