IDP settlements, Gori & Gardabani, Georgia

Two settlements of internally displaced people (IDP) in Georgia.

Internal displacement for Georgia is not a new problem. While people displaced by the August 2008 war over South Ossetia are still displaced now, IDPs from Abkhazia have been displaced for almost 24 years and IDPs from Tskhinvali town in South Ossetia for about 26 years. In Georgia, as in many other parts of the former Soviet Union, the breakdown of the USSR and rapid deterioration in socio-economic conditions were accompanied by changes in the distribution of power among different groups, including among ethnic elites and within political circles.

Extreme tension in two regions of Georgia – Tskhinvali region in the north (1991-92) and Abkhazia in the west (1992-93), both bordering on Russia – led to open clashes and bloody armed conflicts and resulted in displacement for more than 300,000 persons, mainly of Georgian origin and mainly to internal regions of Georgia. In 2008, a new war between Georgia and Russia displaced more than 135,000 people, of whom approximately 26,000 could not return to their native lands due to Russian military presence and the total destruction of their villages. Currently, according to data from the Georgian Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, there are 88,499 IDP families, comprising more than 270,000 people.

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