The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was accompanied by rise of ethnic tensions in many former Soviet States. Ethno-political wars erupted in the Abkhazia and South Ossetia provinces of Georgia in the early 1990s and again in 2008, which led to up to 300,000 people fleeing their homes. Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia declared themselves independent in 2008, and as of November 2016, 272.888 people were still internally displaced, being prevented from safe and dignified return to their places of origin.
The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has been operational in Georgia proper since 1999 and in Abkhazia since 2005. The overall objective of DRC’s work in the area is to reduce displacement related risks and support and facilitate durable solutions for IDPs in Georgia proper and returnees, persons of concern and in a refugee-like situation in Abkhazia.
DRC supports a sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development in Georgia proper and Abkhazia through activities addressing the need for creation of sustainable livelihoods, rural development an access to land, support to SME development and youth employment. DRC is also engaged in securing access to basic services and exercise of fundamental rights by supporting small-scale infrastructure projects for local communities, offer legal assistance to IDPs and provide capacity building of duty bearers and the civil society.
The long-term programmes in Georgia proper and Abkhazia epitomize the notion that responding to a humanitarian crisis is not only about responding to isolated, short term shocks, with quick impact interventions, but also about addressing medium and long-term needs of people displaced by conflict.The target group of DRC therefore also includes local organisations and government institutions playing an important role in development of sustainable initiatives for the benefit of the conflict-affected populations. For years, DRC has been closely engaged at the ministerial level providing technical assistance on policy development and continuously advocating on behalf of the displaced and vulnerable groups.
DRC currently works through a head office in Tbilisi and three field offices in Zugdidi, Sukhumi and Gali and employs about 51 staff members to implement projects.