Sample IDP eviction notice offers alternative housing, no exact eviction dates
In the spirit of clarifying some of the information about the recent spate of evictions of IDPs, we now have a sample eviction letter (in Georgian). It was provided to IDPs living in the temporary shelter on Zubalashvili Street #42 in Tbilisi. It shows that the request for eviction was made by the building’s owner (“the state”) and the police, and it was approved by the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees (MRA). The notification contains quite a bit of useful information. Specifically, it makes a distinction between the collective centers and temporary shelters, noting: “this building is not a collective center and therefore is not intended for a durable housing solution”. It also lists eight villages in the regions where alternative housing is offered, gives technical descriptions of the buildings and surrounding infrastructure, offers IDPs private ownership of the new living spaces and, in case they are interested, a trip to those areas and assistance in transportation of furniture and other personal belongings. The letter does not explicitly state that IDPs may choose from among the eight locations and we do not know how this selection and allocation process worked in practice. The notice gives IDPs ten days to vacate the building, but it does not contain a date of posting. It was received in mid-December and IDPs were not evicted until mid January, thus one of the major criticisms of the evictions noted by monitors is that IDPs were not warned of the exact day of eviction. According to the Ministry, after the submission of the 10-day notification it is the responsibility of the police to provide IDPs with further information, but IDPs and monitors say they were only notified of the eviction date a few hours before it took place. This highlights the lack of coordination between the MRA and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. According to a set of recently elaborated eviction procedures, if the building accommodates a group of people displaced during the August 2008 war the MRA has an obligation to provide them with alternative housing or monetary compensation before posting the 10 day notice. However, the recipients of this specific letter were first wave IDPs from the early 1990’s conflicts registered in private accommodation in Tbilisi. Under the State Strategy and the Action Plan this category of IDPs do not have the option of monetary compensation.