Saakashvili threatened with crucifixion26.08.2010 | 17:39
Despite statements on the necessity of a dialogue with Abkhazia and Ossetia the policy of Georgian regime toward former citizens of these Transcaucasian republics arouses a lot of questions. Recently Tbilisi administration simply threw a number of refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia out on the street offering "equal" exchange: homes in the periphery. What did these people do wrong?
Now over 200 thousand migrants from Abkhazia and South Ossetia are living in Sakartvelo. They used to occupy abandoned houses in the capital of Georgia like a hospital in Isani district, for instance.
This summer Tbilisi authorities declared a real war on refugees from "breakaway regions". People were evicted from the areas they had been occupying by force. Numerous protest rallies near the residence of President Mikheil Saakashvili were of no effect: "the powers that be" only speak about decent compensations to be granted to the refugees.
However, according to opposition deputy Giya Tsagareishvili, Tsalendzhikh district where people are intended to be moved, has no conditions for normal living. "There is no electric power or water supply in five-storey buildings that, as the authorities claim, have been renovated lately", - Interfax quotes. - The nearest shop is 7 km away, and a medical center is 33 km away".
By the way, the Georgian opposition is taking an active part in the struggle for the rights of the refugees. As Lasha Chkhartishvili, a Conservative party leader stated the refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia supported by the opposition are going to set up a country-wide civil movement. The Conservative informed that a protest rally against the ban on street trading and eviction of people from buildings in the Georgian capital in front of the Tbilisi city hall was scheduled for tomorrow.
International organizations offer quite a cool reaction to lawlessness by Georgian authorities. UN High Commissariat for Refugees expressed nothing but regret on the issue. "The eviction process is not sufficiently transparent and refugees are not sufficiently informed", - Western rights defenders said laconically.
In the meantime, desperate people have declared an open-ended hunger strike and have literally sewn their mouths up. Moreover, a woman refugee from Abkhazia threatens Mikheil Saakashvili that she is ready to be crucified in front of his residence.
Thus, people are using various means to achieve only one goal: to be given homes inside the Georgian capital afraid of not being able to find jobs in the regions they are evicted to.
GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed problems of the refugees and the country leaders' logic in the issue with Arnold Stepanyan, chairman of Multinational Georgia public movement.
What do you think about Tbilisi authorities' actions toward the refugees?
Commenting on them at the level of emotions I would call them inhuman. Because these people have nothing else left. They are not only refugees, they are dispossessed people. I don't think it right to treat citizens in this way evicting them from their temporary dwellings and put them out onto street. I'm sure if these people were relatives of representatives of the city authorities they wouldn't have faced that. Another fact is that the officials just don't show understanding for these people's position. Unfortunately, an inhuman approach to citizens has become normal in a variety of spheres.
Why do international organizations keep silent in a difficult situation like this one?
I find it extremely hard to comment on the position of international organizations though judging by the relations between Georgia and the structures involved in refugee issues I can say that as a rule they try to go into a problem seriously and only then react. Almost every time the state has its own arguments based on the logic, despite a great deal of questions connected with morals. It's difficult to forecast what arguments the authorities will offer now.
Why, do you think, the eviction started a short time ago?
I think the authorities have certain projects connected with the buildings occupied by the refugees.
Will Tbilisi authorities soften their stand after radical protest rallies?
Most probably, these rallies will be of no effect. I don't think hunger strikes or any other actions organized by the refugees will touch the authorities to the quick.