Amnesty International Urges Georgia to Stop ‘Forced Evictions’ of Refugees

Posted August 5th, 2011 at 12:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Human rights group Amnesty International has urged Georgia to stop “forced evictions” of internally displaced people and provide them with adequate housing.

The evictions, which started last year, are part of a controversial government program to relocate thousands of refugees from temporary shelters in the capital, Tbilisi, to new homes in the provinces. The program is the latest attempt by the government to tackle a refugee problem stemming from conflicts in the early 1990s in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Russia's five-day war with Georgia in 2008.

Amnesty, in a new report, says that although Georgia has made the provision of adequate housing for the displaced a priority, it says the forced evictions violate Georgia's international obligations and have made the situation worse for many refugees.

Georgian authorities say the refugees were given advance warning and offered suitable alternative housing or compensation. But many have complained that the new homes they have been offered are in remote areas without jobs and cut off from support networks built up over almost two decades.

Amnesty's Natalia Nozadze says war refugees need stable environments to rebuild their lives. But instead, she says, authorities have added to their sense of insecurity by evicting them without adequate consultation, notice or access to legal remedies.

Nearly 250,000 people fled their homes during the wars in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the early 1990s and during Georgia's conflict with Russia over South Ossetia in 2008.