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On 11 September 2015, the Government of Georgia presented a report on the fulfilment of the Government Programme before the Parliament of Georgia. One of the chapters of the report mentions the issue of eco-migrants. Specifically, it says that: "In 2015, the amount of money allocated from the state budget to purchase residences for eco-migrant families trebled in comparison to the years of 2013-2014 and reached GEL 1,800,000. At the present moment, 153 eco-migrant families have received their residences."

FactCheck

verified the numbers given in the Government of Georgia’s report.

The status of an eco-migrant is not defined by law. However, according to Decree N779 of the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, we have a definition of those individuals considered to be eco-migrants. According to Article 1 of the aforementioned decree, a person is considered to be an eco-migrant if his house is destroyed and can no longer be restored or if the house is not destroyed but it presents a mortal danger for those who live therein. The decree also defines the criteria for eco-migrant assessment which grants eco-migrants some bonus points and respective priorities.

According to the two-year work report of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, GEL 1,800,000 was indeed allocated from the budget for eco-migrants in 2015. This is also confirmed by the Head of the Resettlement and Migration Unit of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, Kote Razmadze, in his interview with FactCheck.

According to Mr Razmadze, so far the needs of 153 eco-migrant families have been satisfied and at the end of 2015 an additional 50 families will also receive their residences.

As Kote Razmadze clarified in his interview with FactCheck,

the state plans to re-register state-owned real estate and transfer it under the ownership of 1,103 eco-migrant families. This process will include the following steps: the state will complete the measurement of houses and land plots purchased in the period of 2004-2012, re-register them as state property and give them to eco-migrant families as their private property.

Conclusion

The information in the media proves that the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees did indeed make certain efforts to satisfy the needs of eco-migrant families and gave them residences. Additionally, the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupies Territories, Accommodation and Refugees pushed for the establishment of a commission which will prepare a law to define the status of an eco-migrant. Before that law is drafted, Decree N779 of the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees regulates the status of eco-migrants.

FactCheck

’s research demonstrates that GEL 1.8 million was allocated from the budget to purchase residences for eco-migrant families. At the present moment, 153 families have received their residences and an additional 50 families will get theirs before the end of 2015. The Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees confirms the validity of the numbers given in the report of the Government of Georgia. Additionally, this information was confirmed by the Head of the Resettlement and Migration Unit of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, Kote Razmadze.

Therefore, FactCheck concludes that the numbers given by the Government of Georgia in its report are TRUE.