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Unwanted Refugees2011-07-25 18:11
A new round of Geneva talks is starting soon with debates over the refugee issue as a good tradition. This all is done pro forma and nothing changes in people's lives. Yet, the scandal over this topic in Geneva is guaranteed. Abkhazia and South Ossetia condemn the UN's new resolution on refugees reflecting the Georgian position only. There is another component of the negotiations: results of the research show that 85% refugees don't want to return to places they left twenty years ago.
"All forcibly displaced people are entitled to a dignified return to their homes", - is the phrase that has been quoted in every new UN resolution over two decades. In reality there will be no return.
The reason is that nobody wants to as can be seen from the results of the poll among refugees from Abkhazia carried out by Resources of Reconciliation NGO (GB) and a number of various foundations. The purpose of the poll was to gauge public opinion among refugees primarily on their return to native places. The research can be trusted, since the number of respondents is large and the work was done in various geographical zones of the country where former citizens of Abkhazia now live.
According to the results, 85% of refugees are not ready to get back to Abkhazia unless it gets back under Georgian jurisdiction. The poll does not cover refugees from South Ossetia, since their opinions on the issue are unknown but it seems logical that results will be similar. Only 10% of respondents want to return to Abkhazia the way it is right now. Some experts doubt truthfulness of the results thinking that some respondents are afraid to tell the truth and do not speak their minds. Nevertheless, the result is a good demonstration of the real public opinion among refugees.
The international community prefers discussing the technical side of the issue - demolished homes and lost properties omitting the core of the issue. Most Georgian refugees left Abkhazia and South Ossetia not only because of the war and mortal threat. They did not want to stay in their homes after the victory of the strugglers for independence - outside Georgia. They are ideological refugees, so to say ready to consider their return provided Georgia restores control over its former autonomies. And this is impossible, so it's not the time to start packing suitcases. One thing is clear: endless debates over the destiny of refugees in various international instances is empty talking.
It is clear that Georgian authorities like having crowds of people in their country whose interests can be taken advantage of. Tbilisi does not want a dialogue on people's return in today's conditions. Let's assume, the refugees will be invited back. Georgian authorities will be the first to protest. They want to have crowds of former Abkhaz citizens acting against independence project. And the return of people primarily means these independence projects have been accepted.
Yet, there is 10% of refugees ready to come back to Abkhazia with no regard to political circumstances. What about them? Probably, this topic deserves special attention. Yet, nobody seems to do that. The international community is not concerned over the matter, Georgian authorities want to leave things as they are to have refugees as a good resource. As for Abkhaz and Ossetian authorities - they too seem to be satisfied with the present situation.
They don't want to see refugees, and the longer talks go on, the fewer chances they have to return.
The problem of refugees is totally irresolvable. Let's imagine people will have a chance to get back. Where will they live? Where will their children study? What will they do for a living?