IDP Issues - General Information
According to the Law of Georgia on Internally Displaced Persons, "Internally displaced person (IDP) is the citizen of Georgia or stateless person permanently residing in Georgia, who was forced to leave the place of his/her habitual residence and was displaced (within the territory of Georgia) as a result of threat to his/her or his/her family member’s life, health or freedom due to the aggression of foreign country, internal conflicts or mass violation of human rights."
As a result of the conflicts in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, around 251,000 thousand people became internally displaced persons (IDPs). In August 2008, after the war with Russian Federation, the number of IDPs in Georgia increased by some 26,000.
Up until 2007, there has not been a state document in Georgia reflecting the general vision of IDPs’ problems and the approach towards solving them. In planning and implementing IDP programs, the Georgian government, international organizations and local non-governmental organizations have experienced a lack of a coordinated and comprehensive approach to addressing IDPs’ problems. This has resulted in insufficient attention paid to IDPs’ interests and needs, and made it difficult to develop durable and sustainable solutions to their plight.
On 23 February 2006, a State Commission was established in order to elaborate a State Strategy for IDPs – Persecuted and policy on this issue, to prepare recommendations, and to organize and coordinate the implementation of the elaborated strategy.
The elaborated strategy, which was approved on 2 February 2007, presents the approach of the government of Georgia towards internally displaced persons – persecuted. It determines two major goals of the state: to create conditions for dignified and safe return of IDPs and to support IDPs who have spontaneously returned to their places of permanent residence; and to support decent living conditions for the displaced population and their integration in all aspects of society.The leading role, responsibility and coordination function for the elaboration of programs foreseen by the strategy, as well as the monitoring outcomes of their implementation was assigned to the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation.
During last two decades, the provision of IDPs with durable housing solution and their socio-economic integration are main goals of the Government of Georgia. More than 18 years, IDPs have been living in so-called collective centres – in former administrative buildings that were in poor conditions, without lack of access to water and sanitation or electricity. Since 2009, with the assistance of EU and other donor organizations, the Government has made significant steps toward improvement of IDP living conditions. Many collective centres were rehabilitated and transferred into legal ownership of IDPs.
During 2010-2011, for IDPs living in collapsing collective centres, 64 new apartment blocks were constructed in Batumi, Poti and Tskaltubo. In 2012, construction of 10 apartment blocks will be launched in Zugdidi.
At present, since 2007, 28 861 IDP families were provided with durable housing solution (alternatives: rehabilitation of collective centres and privatization, converting idle buildings into apartments and distribution to IDPs, new cottage type settlements, purchasing rural houses in villages, cash assistance (so called compensations) and newly constructed apartment blocks). It is anticipated that additional 6,000 families will be provided with durable housing this year. The accommodation process is still ongoing and will continue until all IDP families will be provided with durable housing solution.
Creating dignified living conditions for IDPs until their return is main goal of the Ministry.