Human Rights Center reacts to the completion of the Housing Program for Ukrainian Refugees

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According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the number of Ukrainian refugees has exceeded five million since the war began. Besides neighboring states, they seek asylum also in Georgia.

Protecting asylum seekers is an important part of human rights law and is regulated both by international standards and by national law. According to Article 21 of  the Refugee Convention, the states shall accord to refugees lawfully staying in their territory treatment as favorable as possible. The socio-economic guarantees for refugees are enshrined by Article 60(1) of the Law of Georgia on International Protection. Therefore, must be welcomed the endeavors of the Georgian authorities in providing housing for the Ukrainian refugees escaping the war, however, the program ended on July 31, 2022. According to information provided by Tbilisi City Hall, Ukrainian nationals arriving to Georgia will receive remittances from July 15, 2022.

One has to take into account the concerns of the Ukrainian refugees that the allocated funds by the State are not enough for living in Georgia, especially for those who are unable to work for health, family issues or other reasons. Further, it is also noteworthy that the increase in housing prices is related to the increased number of Russian citizens arriving in Georgia.

 According to the official information of the Ministry of Interior, the citizens of the Russian Federation hold the leading place in numbers among other nationals arriving in Georgia in June 2022. According to public opinion, not only those Russians are coming to Georgia who are in danger, but also those who try to live in better conditions due to financial sanctions imposed on Russia. Since under Ordinance №255  of the Government of Georgia from June 5, 2015 citizens of the Russian Federation may enter Georgia and stay for a  year in the country, Georgians feel vulnerable and petition for stricter visa regulations to be introduced  against the citizens of Russia and Belarus.

HRC actively helps Ukrainian refugees. Lawyers of HRC provide them with free legal advice both how to obtain refugee status, as well as receive information about their rights and other important issues. It is noteworthy that through communicating with Ukrainian refugees, certain gaps are evident such as uncoordinated work between the state agencies, as well as problems of lack and poor availability of information.

 Stemming from the above, we call on the Georgian authorities to:

  • Take all possible measures to ensure decent living conditions for Ukrainian refugees in Georgia, including to develop employment programs for them;
  • Ensure availability of information for Ukrainian refugees on relevant services and procedures;
  • Focus on the concerns of the citizens of Georgian regarding the citizens of Russian Federation arriving in Georgia and to carry out all possible measures to prevent destabilization of the situation in accordance with human rights standards.

Human Rights Center