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Mishiko driving refugees in a corner

16.08.2011  |  20:23

Mishiko driving refugees in a corner. 20897.jpegTbilisi authorities continue getting rid of refugees. This time, forced migrants are ousted from Abkhazia Hotel. They are cynically offered to wait for the construction of a residential complex in Rustavi to be completed, meanwhile jostling in a rent apartment. Seeing that the situation is hopeless, some people agree to a scanty compensation of ten thousand dollars, others going on with their protests. The chaos set up by Mayor of the capital Gigi Ugulava and his team was discussed by GeorgiaTimes correspondent with Parliament


Deputy Petre Mamradze.

For twenty-two years, 300 families from Tskhinval have been living in Abkhazia Hotel in Tbilisi; many of them have got at least some kind of job. Now they are going to be moved to rent apartments in Rustavi because the residential complex is not yet constructed there. If you don't like these conditions you may take ten thousand dollars as compensation and get out. Such choice was given to the forced migrants by city governor Gigi Ugulava and his team.

Meanwhile, the Ministry for Refugees and Resettlement is the embodiment of calmness. "Abkhazia Hotel is practically vacant, - goes the statement of the administration. - Through the intermediary of the Ministry, the owner of the building offered two alternative variants to the families who have been living in unbearable and insanitary conditions for 20 years - monetary aid or an apartment in Rustavi (near Tbilisi) that the Ministry is going to transfer into their ownership and register in their name". In the meantime, local Internet media controlled by Saakashvili's regime are publishing photos of "elite houses for refugees" built all over Georgia.

Rallies set up by forced migrants and joined by oppositionists are held more and more often in Tbilisi. People gather near the residence of the head of the country Mikhail Saakashvili, the UN representative office and the office of the Georgian People's Defender Giorgy Tugushi. But only the latter heard the Abkhaz and South-Ossetian refugees' requests. According to the ombudsman, one has to defend the people's interests and reconsider the size of the compensation. "Refugees may be withdrawn from densely populated places only if there is a relevant written agreement between the parties, - he underlined. - According to the document, refugees must be provided with suitable housing conditions in the new location".

As was expected, Tugashi's proposals have never been heard. Of course, forced migrants will sooner or later sign all the necessary papers. They simply have no other way out, for if they do not leave the hotel on their own they will be ousted by force. Some have already agreed to ridiculous compensations and some continue protesting. "There should be a larger compensation, for our future housing conditions must be no worse than the current ones, which is guaranteed by law, - the protesters say. - However, the outcome of the struggle is clear - no one in Georgia has ever managed to win the fight with the ruling regime of Saakashvili who has established real dictatorship in the country. But is Mikheil aware of what he is doing and what kind of image he makes in the eyes of international organizations and people with his behavior?

Georgian Parliamentarian Petre Mamradze told GeorgiaTimes that since the authorities started treating refugees inhumanly, the West, including UN Commissariat for Migrants, has many times given its evaluation but the country's government pays no attention to the international bodies and western government's appraisals. "People become refugees for the second time, - Mamradze says. - It is universally agreed that if refugees densely inhabit any location, it is inhuman to interfere with them, for they gradually develop their social circle, connections and find a way to provide for themselves. What is going on is not the improvement of their life; they are simply resettled to other places where some repair works have been done but the so-called allowance is not enough to last even for a couple of days. But the current protest is inefficient, for Saakashvili and his team understand only brute force".

Our interlocutor also wished to share his opinion of the Minister for Refugees and Resettlement Koba Subeliani who has been repeatedly called to account. Mamradze believes him to be Saakashvili's henchman who is also close to Ugulava. "Subeliani is an outright scoundrel and liar. He blindly fulfills his bosses' will, the president's primarily, - Mamradze underlined. - By the way, it is rumoured that he has improved his own living conditions in the past two years. The point is that Georgia's Controlling Chamber has recently submitted a scandalous statement to the president, saying that Subeliani spent half of over 700 thousand laris allocated for refugees on postal charges. But the minister will never be held responsible for that for as long as Saakashvili's regime is in power. Of course, he can be got rid of; he can be ordered to become a tutor as they generally do here but only in case he is too expensive for the government".

Ruslan Chigoev

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