Georgia Looks West, But Faces Migration Challenges at Home

Publié le par Sophie Tournon

By Joanne van Selm
Migration Policy Institute

June 2005

(ABSTRACT) : Repatriation and Integration of Deported Meskhetians

Another group of forced migrants are of particular concern to many international supporters of the new Georgia. Originally from the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia, the Meskhetians (also known as Meskhetian Turks) have been forcibly displaced twice in 60 years.

In 1944, Stalin ordered the deportation of some 120,000 people (mainly Meskhetians but also Kurds and Khemshils) to Central Asia. Ethnic violence in the Ferghana Valley area of Uzbekistan in June 1989 forced many of the 160,000 descendents of this Muslim population to move again, scattering them across Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. A large group lives in the Russian region of Krasnodar.

On joining the Council of Europe in 1999, Georgia signed up to a detailed, 12-year framework, committing to the voluntary return of Meskhetians who want to come to Georgia. Tbilisi has yet to adopt the laws required to allow this repatriation.

According to the original schedule, the Meskhetian repatriation laws should have been adopted in 2001, with the repatriation process being launched in 2003 and completed by 2011. However, in 2001, then-President Shevardnadze declared Georgia's limited resources could not, in the face of the massive needs of the IDP population, be used to repatriate Meskhetian Turks, and that the existing socio-economic circumstances would not favor their return.

In 2005, the Georgian government decided to set up a special commission to investigate the issues relating to repatriation.

It is not clear that significant numbers of the deported Meskhetian population would choose to repatriate to Georgia even if the option for them to do so is created by the Georgian authorities. Some 11,000 have chosen to apply for resettlement to the United States, since a program for the admission to the US as refugees of Meskhetian Turks from Krasnodar was opened in 2004. 

Copyright @ 2006 Migration Policy Institute. All rights reserved.
MPI · 1400 16th St. NW, Suite 300 · Washington, DC 20036
ph: (001) 202-266-1940 · fax: (001) 202-266-1900

Publié dans meskhetians

Commenter cet article