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Refugees against “fantastic” minister24.12.2010 | 19:20
While the refugees ousted from the Georgian capital are holding protest actions near the building of Ministry for Resettlement, Head of the administration Koba Subeliani is making curious statements. In his opinion, so much has been done for the migrants from Abkhazia and South Ossetia this year that it would have seemed fantastic some time before. The radical changes in the Georgian refugees' life were discussed by GeorgiaTimes correspondent and Chairman of the Multinational Georgia public movement Arnold Stepanyan.
"The fantastic fact was that 600 objects were given to the refugees as property, - Georgian minister underlined proudly. - This is a settled problem and we must think of other things". By the way, speaking at the joint final meeting of Ministry of Regional Development and Municipal Development Foundation, Koba Subeliani dwelled upon the frame buildings erected for the displaced persons on the donors' money. He said the construction will be continued next year and all refugees will finally have a roof over their heads. He listened to praise on the part of his senior colleague, PM Nika Gilauri, who told about the great success in the issue of resettling people.
However, those who were the subject of the Georgina officials' speculations came to the streets of Tbilisi and demanded Subeliani's resignation. This man started forcibly ousting the people from the capital to the outskirts in summer, promising to provide them with a "decent" compensation. However, the compensation turned out to include the frame buildings located in various regions of the republic with no electric power and water and the nearest shop being seven kilometers away.
Special operation Tbilisi With No Refugees still goes on. Not so long ago, Ministry for Refugees and Resettlement decided to clear a whole quarter of the Georgian capital of its people. Five thousand forcibly displaced persons were notified about the necessity to leave their apartments within ten days; otherwise, they would be ousted by force. The people were never told where they were to go. "I've got a sick daughter who needs medicines and treatment, - MTRK Mir is citing Eteri Bzhalava, a meeting participant, who has been living for three months in a tent camp next to Mr. Subeliani's administration. - I do not insist upon living in Tbilisi but they should give me an apartment in any other town where I will find a job".
The refugees are going to apply for help to the Georgian president, prime minister, speaker of parliament and Catholicos Patriarch and if they get no reaction they will sign a petition for a political asylum in the U.S. It is the local opposition that is going to help them. According Chairman of the Georgian Party Sozar Subari, the displeased will bring the information across to the international community and, if need be, to Strasbourg. "If the refugees and the public display unanimity, the government will have no other way than to make concessions", - he is cited by RIA Novosti. As for Koba Subeliani, there will be a collective suit waiting for him at the court of Tbilisi after the New Year holidays substantiated by almost one and a half thousands of written applications from refugees.
Those are radical plans, but what's to become of the desperate people who have been deprived of the roof over the head by virtue of various circumstances and who came to Georgia seeking a better life? Subeliani's hypocrisy and the prospects of resolving the conflict between the ministry and the refugees were discussed by Chairman of the Multinational Georgia public movement Arnold Stepanyan.
- What's your estimation of Koba Subeliani's optimistic statements in the context of the refugees' protest actions?
- I don't know how one can talk about the state's successful policy in this issue if the refugees are demanding the minister's resignation. Presently, representatives of other layers of the society are joining the protesters and I think you won't find a reasonable person in Georgia who would speak about the efficiency of the measures taken in respect of the persons displaced. One must have deformed imagination to dwell upon any positive moments here. I can say that even MIA is more successful in resolving the refugees' problems than the ministry being in charge of these people.
- In your opinion, will the suit filed by refugees with the court of Tbilis have any effect?
- Unfortunately, the majority of the Georgian population does not believe in the court's justice, which is one of the main obstacles for the democratic processes development in our country. I think the suit will hardly be fulfilled, not only by the city court but by other instances as well. We've got no reasons to hope for success.
- And what about setting up a tent camp near the ministry building and applying to international organizations?
- The international community is usually very sensitive about such things. For instance, there are some lately initiated programs concerning refugees' support. But it's difficult to say how soon the situation will be settled and in what way. All these programs imply long-term development, while the people need justice today. No wonder so many refugees left Georgia last year.