Tbilisi’s Hotel Abkhazia may look a far cry from its lush, subtropical namesake. But for the former hotel’s tenants – Georgians displaced from breakaway South Ossetia during the early-1990s separatist war – it was, until their eviction this week, second only to home.
While Georgia’s top officials, with most of Tbilisi’s elite in tow, enjoy the glitzy song and dance shows at Batumi’s booming seaside resorts, a sorry scene has played out back in the capital. Despite emotional pleas, police herded the internally displaced people, including elderly women and children, out from the rundown former hotel on August 15. Some 270 families were ejected as the government made good on a promise to remove IDPs from makeshift collective centers around the city.
The IDPs from “Abkhazia” were offered alternative housing in Rustavi, an erstwhile Soviet industrial town southeast of the capital, or compensation of $10,000 – too little to buy an apartment even in Tbilisi’s suburbs. Many fear they will have trouble integrating again and finding jobs.
The Georgian government has faced criticism from both local and international rights groups for displacing its displaced. This month, Amnesty International issued a scathing report on the forced evictions, “Uprooted Again,” which found Georgia had broken its international human rights obligations.
“Evictions failed to satisfy international standards relating to adequate consultation, notice, access to legal remedies and the offer of adequate alternative accommodation to all those evicted,” said the Amnesty report.
The South Pacific island of Vanuatu has spoken: its recognition of breakaway Abkhazia as a sovereign state is official and final.
A video statement released by Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot shed light on the island nation's seemingly bipolar take on Abkhazia. Although Vanuatu’s UN envoy earlier had passionately denied the news, the minister said that his country did recognize Abkhazia.
Carlot said that he had failed to shoot an update to the envoy in New York because he was in Seoul at the time. The envoy, Donald Kalpokas, told The New York Times that he does not want to “touch” Carlot “because he is the minister.”
Carlot said that the recognition came as part of Vanuatu’s battle for “eradicating colonialism from the face of the earth of this planet.” A graduate of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Diplomatic Academy, he asserted that he “has a little bit of understanding of the geopolitical situation in that region.”
Vanuatu is the fifth country after Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru to recognize the independence of Abkhazia, which rest of the world regards as part of Georgia. The breakaway region's official news agency, Apsnypress, reports that a local textile shop has sewn a flag for Vanuatu to commemorate the news.
We would like to hear your opinion about the new site. Tell us what you like, and what you don't like in an email and send it to: email@example.com