IDP Laws and Policies: Georgia
Law of Georgia on Internally Displaced Persons (as amended 2006)
Purpose: To detail the grounds for granting the status of an ‘internally displaced person’, the rights and obligations of internally displaced persons; the rights of the displaced at their places of temporary residence and the guarantees of the state in relation to rehabilitating their places of permanent residence; grounds for suspending the status of a displaced person and their benefits, and funding to allow for assistance to the displaced.
Responsibilities: The Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation of Georgia is responsible for deciding upon applications for ‘internally displaced person’ status (Art. 2) as well as decisions regarding suspension or loss of status (Art. 6).
Content: The primary focus of the Law is on the process of applying for and granting the status of internal displacement as well as the grounds for suspension or loss of the status. The Law also sets out in general terms the specific rights of the internally displaced in their places of temporary residence and upon return.
Provisions of note include:
- Grant of IDP status to children of IDPs (Art. 2(11));
- Required medical check-up upon the request of healthcare institutions (Art. 3(4));
- Entitlement of a monthly allowance (Art. 4(1));
- Free health care and education, including secondary education (Art. 5 (2));
- Continuity of service despite loss of employment due to displacement (Art. 9 (3)).
Law on Property Restitution and Compensation for the Victims of Conflict in the Former South Ossetian Autonomous District in the Territory of Georgia (2007)
Purpose: To establish the legal procedures by which refugees and internally displaced persons (‘forced migrants’) who fled South Ossetia can seek property restitution or compensation.
Responsibilities: The Law establishes a Commission on Restitution and Compensation to decide upon applications for restitution or compensation (Ch. II). The Commission is created for an initial period of 3 years (Art. 6). The Commission is to be funded from a variety of sources including the State budget and donors including other states, international and non-governmental organizations or private persons (Art. 33).
Content: The Law details the composition, mandate and rules of procedure of the Commission. It also establishes the basis upon which claims for restitution can be made.
Provisions of note include:
- The Commission may mediate arguments and facilitate conciliation (Art. 18 (3));
- The Commission may impose fines on any natural or legal person who, for example, fails to enforce a decision of the Commission (Art. 21 (1));
- Applications may be filed in any language and by next of kin (Art. 26(1));
- If the applicant’s property has been destroyed, they shall receive ‘substitute’ immovable property of the same value (Art. 29 (4)).
Decree #47 on Approving of the State Strategy for Internally Displaced Persons (2007)
Purpose: To create conditions for dignified and safe return of the internally displaced and support decent living conditions for the displaced population and their participation in society (Preamble).
Responsibilities: Chapter VII of the Strategy identifies the following state authorities as responsible for elaborating and implementing specific programs: Ministries of Refugees and Accommodation, Economic Development, Labor, Health and Social Affairs, Finance and the government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia. The Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation is designated the leading role, responsibility and coordination function in the elaboration of programs and monitoring outcomes.
Content: The Strategy details the barriers faced by the internally displaced in the exercise of their rights, including in relation to employment, housing, health and education (pp. 4-5). It establishes a three-phased approach to addressing the needs of the displaced depending on the continued resolution of the conflict (pp. 7-8) and highlights the basic activities needed to improve the living and socio-economic conditions of the displaced and thereby facilitate their integration into society (pp. 9 – 11). Finally, the Strategy identifies key principles upon which implementation of the Strategy should be based including the free choice of the displaced (Ch. VI, 1.1), sustainability of outcomes (Ch. VI, 1.5) and gender equality (Ch. VI, 1.9).
Other provisions of note include:
- Relevance of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (Preamble);
- Criteria for designing assistance programs (Ch. V, 1);
- Collective centers for self-privatization (Ch. V, 2.1 (c));
- Closure of segregated schools, upgrading teacher qualifications (Ch. V, 3.1 (c));
- Participation in social state programs (Ch. V, 3.2);
- IDP participation (Ch VI, 1.2);
- Tailor-made programs for different vulnerable groups (Ch. VI, 1.7).
Decree #575 Regarding the Amendment to Decree #403 (2010)