Tbilisi City Council takes an interest in IDP evictions, but news agency’s inaccurate information raises false hopes
An article published two days ago by Interpress News (access required) inaccurately reported that the Tbilisi City Council had secured assurance from the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation (MRA) that IDPs living in five buildings in Tbilisi would not be evicted, among other guarantees for their housing. We were surprised to hear this news, since it contradicted the MRA’s plans for IDP resettlement. After speaking with Victor Dolidze, head of the Committee on Health Care and Social Issues who is also heading the special working group on IDP evictions (a working group that has met only once so far) we verified that the article contained several misleading statements.Specifically:
- The article lists addresses of five buildings, claiming that IDPs will not be evicted from them. This is inaccurate. According to Victor Dolidze, the MRA agreed that they will only evict IDPs from these five buildings if they are offered an alternative solution.
- Further, according to the article, those IDPs who are to be evicted from the buildings in Tbilisi will be resettled in the same geographic area (e.g. in Tbilisi). This is also inaccurate. In fact, this rule will only apply to those IDPs who are officially registered in the collective centers in Tbilisi. (Some of the IDPs living in temporary shelters and collective centers in Tbilisi are actually registered in the regions. In these cases, the MRA plans to provide them with a durable shelter solution in their original place of registration, e.g. not in Tbilisi.)
We are happy to see that Tbilisi City Council has taken an interest in the enormous problems facing IDPs living in this city and we hope that they continue to be engaged and effective in working on the issue, in coordination with the MRA. The distribution of such inaccurate information continues to do significant harm to the efforts of government agencies such as the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation, which fights a continuous battle against such rumors and, in the case of positive news that turns out to be false, also suffers a serious blow to its reputation among the very population that it is trying to serve. On July 22, the MRA presented to the Steering Committee on IDP Issues this list of 36 temporary shelters in Tbilisi from which IDPs would be evicted. The process was halted in late August, after several sites had already been evicted, but is expected to resume again under a new set of Standard Operating Procedures.