Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2017, 09:21 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Georgia

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 25 May 2004
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Georgia , 25 May 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/40b4593b0.html [accessed 19 October 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

More than 260,000 persons remained internally displaced in Georgia at year's end. The overwhelming majority (about 247,000) were ethnic Georgians displaced from Abkhazia in the early 1990s. About another 12,800 persons remained displaced from the South Ossetia region.

In addition, Georgia hosted some 3,900 refugees in need of protection, almost all from the neighboring Russian republic of Chechnya. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), only 17 recognized refugees in Georgia were non-Chechens. Two asylum claims were pending at year's end.

During 2003, about 6,600 refugees from Georgia were registered in Russia, the majority of whom were ethnic Ossetians. They sought protection in the neighboring Russian republic of North Ossetia.

In addition, more than 8,000 Georgians sought asylum in industrialized countries in 2003, down from 8,800 the previous year.

New Developments

Although a cease-fire remained in effect in South Ossetia, sporadic violence continued in Abkhazia and the government maintained little control of or access to the areas. According to Georgia's Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation (MRA), nearly 3,700 Chechen refugees were registered in the Pankisi valley in December, down from 4,200 the year before, with small numbers also registered in Akhmeta and Tiblisi, the Capitol. Some local "Kists" (ethnic Chechen Georgian citizens) had earlier been inadvertently counted among the Chechen refugees, but some of the refugees departed to other countries as well, according to the U.S. State Department. The majority continued to live with the local Kist residents in the valley during the year.

Security improved in the Pankisi Valley 2003. UNHCR and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) continued to work through local partners to assist host families in the Valley.

Georgia has recognizes the Chechens as prima facie refugees and grants them all of the rights set forth in its refugee law but also arrest several Chechens and local Kists criminal suspects during the year. As a result, UNHCR referred a small number of Chechen cases for emergency resettlement, which were accepted by Sweden. UNHCR did not assist the return of any Chechens to Russia during the year, although a small number reportedly returned spontaneously.

The Refugee Department within Georgia's Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation processed only four asylum applications, all from Iranians, and had accepted none by year's end.

At the end of 2003, Georgia had not passed legislation to allow the return of an estimated 280,000 formerly deported Meskhetian Turks living outside the country.

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