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Refugees to dishonor Mishiko03.08.2011 | 20:45
Georgian community continues protesting against the forced resettlement of refugees started by the authorities of the capital. The residents of Sakartvelo who are not indifferent to the problems of the people that have lost their homes gathered in front of the parliament building and Saakashvili's residence but the leader of the country refused to listen to them. The hope is now put on international structures, so today's meeting will be held near the UN office in Tbilisi. GeorgiaTimes correspondent has talked to the representatives of non-government organizations and oppositionists about whether the West will hear these people.
oppositionists about whether the West will hear these people.
"Forced migrants are evicted from the capital each day, - former member of the oppositional People's Party Alexander Shalamberidze stated in the course of the latest protest action. - These people demand dwellings in a place where they will be able to find a job. They demand being provided with the basic life conditions, or being returned to the places they have inhabited for many years".
Now the majority of evictees from the Georgian capital have been left without shelter. Those who are luckier live at their relatives' or rent an apartment. Before the authorities started their outrageous actions, refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia had had a job in Tbilisi. According to Shalamberidze, no one can guarantee now that tomorrow or the day after, the forced migrants whom the government has not yet deprived of their homes won't find themselves in the street.
Meanwhile, Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava and his team seem to begin to enjoy the situation day by day. It became known last week that they are going to oust even those whom the authorities provided with the housing space about three years ago. President of the republic Mikhail Saakashvili, who likes to talk about his care of every Georgian, prefers paying no attention to this paradox, as well as to the meetings held in front of his residence where the people demand that Mishiko be held responsible for his own words, for it was him who promised during the pre-election campaign that all refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia living in the capital would become residents of Tbilisi.
Having given up the hope of being heard by the ruling regime, the forced migrants and their supporters, including the residents of the Georgian capital, made up their mind to turn to international organizations. Today, the meeting will be held in front of the office of the United Nations Organization. The participants of the meeting are going to put the UN representatives in the picture and tell them about the government's attitude towards refugees and the lawlessness on their part. What kind of response can be expected from the West?
Arnold Stepanyan, Chairman of the Multinational Georgia public movement: I believe the West is hardly capable of doing more than the international community is doing in the issue, no matter if it is good or bad. The international organizations' efforts are set against the authorities' position, which, as we can see, is very difficult to overcome. But of course, such actions help maintain the issue on a certain level, which is very important. They demonstrate to the international community, the people and the political sector that someone is keeping his eye on the ball, anyway, but it is unfortunately impossible to attain more at this stage. There is a wall that is very hard to break through. Perhaps, such actions might dismantle this wall stone by stone but one cannot achieve all the goals at once. And, unfortunately, the actions held in support of refugees are less enthusiastic than those related to the arrested photographers. If these evictions fall within the authorities' plans they will go on, though I admit that the rate of evicting refugees from Tbilisi may be brought down a bit before the elections.
Manana Nachkebia, leader of the oppositional New Rights party: I believe that it is our government that should pay attention to the problem of refugees. The ruling regime has got no policy at all in their respect. They simply get rid of them and oust them from Tbilisi, and the people have to lose their houses after 17 years, which is abnormal.
We have already demanded the resignation of the Georgian Minister for Refugees and Resettlement but Saakashvili evidently thinks that keeping Subeliani at this post is a matter of honour, while he should primarily think not about his honour but about the future of those who will have to abandon their homes for the second time. I know that the new wave of evictions is coming and I sympathize with these people very much but so far, the protests yield no result.