Will IDPs lose their 28 GEL?
By Salome Modebadze
Monday, October 26On October 25, on the 8th day of the hunger strike in front of the Ministry of Internally Displaced People from Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, the Public Movement of IDPs demanded that the Minister Koba Subeliani and his deputies be removed from their positions. “Despite the fact that the Ministry of IDPs from Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees is neglecting our request about ensuring the IDPs with appropriate accommodation in Tbilisi, they are also abolishing the minimum financial support instead of increasing it,” Chairman of the Public IDP Movement Davit Malazonia said regarding the possible abolition of the 28 GEL per month support package for IDPs.
According to information released by Tina Khidasheli, an independent member of Tbilisi City Council from the Republican Party, the IDPs will no longer receive the 28 GEL support from the state as part of the order issued by Minister Subeliani on October 7. This order according to Khidasheli will eventually be reflected in a reduction of the financial support for IDPs in the next state budget. “The rule of distributing the 28 GEL package to IDPs was suspended by the Minister, which is an indication that those people won’t receive financial support. We have been in all the villages bordering the occupied regions and met with people facing common problems and the Government of Georgia should provide those people with the necessary materials and products,” Khidasheli said encouraging the Ministry of IDPs from Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees to fulfill the promises made to the City Council group working on IDP issues before November 1, otherwise international organisations will be sent reports on the IDPs’ conditions in Georgia.
Chairman of the Administrative Department of the Ministry of Internally Displaced People from Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, Valeri Kopaleishvili denied Tina Khidasheli’s report on the abolition of the 28 GEL support package for IDPs. “I can’t understand why this information has been released as there is no background for the abolition of the assistance yet,” Kopaleishvili told the media. Explaining that the financial assistance is being distributed among the IDPs under the Georgian Law on Budget, the Ministry is not eligible to suspend the program without relevant changes to the Law.
Kopaleishvili emphasised that the Ministry has offered the IDPs accommodation in different regions as part of the state programme enabling all IDPs to own these homes. “All the IDPs interested in this programme must apply to the Ministry of Internally Displaced People from Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees and choose from the many regions,” Kopaleishvili told the media. Declaring they would continue holding mass protest rallies and hunger strikes and stay in camps until their demands are met, the IDPs explained that all the buildings offered by the Ministry have already been taken by others.
Lasha Chkhartishvili from the Conservative Party explained that the accommodation problems which are generally under Tbilisi City Hall’s responsibility should be solved by the Council. The Public IDP Movement supported by the People’s Party and the Conservative Party will hold a rally in front of Tbilisi City Hall on October 29, the day when council members will be discussing the issue of giving the City Hall-owned buildings to IDPs.
Analyst in IDP issues Malkhaz Chemia told The Messenger that the Government of Georgia, in particular the Ministry of Internally Displaced People from Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees is responsible for ensuring people have accommodation in locations where they will have the chance to adapt to the relevant infrastructural challenges. “The European Convention which is the most civilized international legislation considers that each Government should follow the obligations given to IDPs and refugees within their countries. These obligations include providing minimum financial support, employment, healthcare, social protection, future prospects, etc but unfortunately Minister Subeliani has been refraining from commenting on this very issue,” the analyst said stressing that the 28 GEL support package provided by the Georgian Government is definitely not enough for a person.
Encouraging the government to give each IDP an appropriate amount of at least GEL 200 to cover their needs, including common expenses, Chemia explained that the protest rallies of the homeless IDPs fighting for their rights may simply turn into a state revolution like in many other European countries if the Minister Subeliani doesn’t realise all his responsibilities towards these people and treat them appropriately,” the analyst told us.