Ministry of Internal Affairs Disregards Public Defender’s Recommendation

The Ministry of Internal Affairs did not take into view the Public Defender’s recommendation of December 14, 2015, on granting compensation to the people living alongside the dividing line.

T.T. is a resident of the Shida Kartli village of Zardiaantkari, which is located adjacent to the dividing line. His house was seriously damaged during the 2008 war. In 2012, after restoration of the Georgian Government’s control over the village, the Ministry of Internal Affairs opened a police checkpoint near his house and rented the house for the personnel of the checkpoint. However, the Ministry did not renew the contract with the citizen in 2015. T.T.'s house was in a more poor condition in 2015 and it was not suitable for living. T.T. and his spouse cannot return to their home because of the condition of the house and the fact that it is close to the police station.

The Public Defender considers that the citizen's right to adequate housing was violated and believes that for restoration of his right, the citizen should be provided by alternative housing or appropriate monetary compensation, until the checkpoint of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is located near his house.

The right to adequate housing is recognized and guaranteed by Article 11 of the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights. According to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the right to adequate housing is intended to ensure that everyone has a safe and secure place to live in peace and dignity.

It should be noted that the right to adequate housing is consistent with the principles of the international humanitarian law, which provides for separation of civilians from military facilities, as living at similar places is not safe. On the other hand, the state must offer adequate living conditions to such persons and should not to leave them without adequate housing.

According to the reply letter of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, they do not consider the police station as a military facility, as it serves "protection of security and public order alongside the occupied territory." The letter also says that "damage/amortization of the house has nothing to do with the Ministry of Internal Affairs."

The Public Defender stresses that the police station and the wall of T.T.’s house are not separated from each other, which creates the impression that the house is part of the infrastructure of the checkpoint. This creates an additional obstacle for the citizen to return to his home.

Accordingly, the Public Defender calls on the Ministry of Internal Affairs to consider the issue once again and take a decision which will ensure protection of T.T.’s. right to adequate housing.

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