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Tskhaltubo/Georgia - Waiting Since 18 Years For …?

(2011)

Tskhaltubo, a former Soviet spa resort, is now turned into a shelter for internally displaced people (IDP) from the short but intense Georgian-Abkhaz wars (1992–93 & 1998). The conflicts resulted in numerous war crimes, massacres and ethnic cleansing, forcing around 250 000 ethnic Georgians to flee Abkhazia. Some 7000* IDP have been living here since 18 years in poor, cramped and unsanitary conditions, waiting for another future, seemingly forgotten by the rest of the world. Tskhaltubo’s dilapidating buildings used to be the Soviet holiday paradise, now they are haunted by the ghosts of the past and the broken hopes of the present.

The images were taken in 2011 during a photo project in collaboration with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC).

*This number has decreased to 800, due to efforts to resettle IDPs in proper homes. Photo project from 2018 by Ryan Koopman: >>Sanatorium





Early Winter in Ergneti

(2015)

In autumn 2011 I began to work on my long-term photo project about refugees and internally displaced people in the South Caucasus, working closely with the Norwegian and Danish Refugee Councils. During my work, I also visited the Georgian side of the buffer zone to South Ossetia. In 2008 a conflict had erupted between Georgia and Russia over the break-away region of South Ossetia.
When I arrived in Ergneti, the war had been over for more than three years, but there were still traces of it everywhere – not only on the houses and infrastructure, but also in the minds of the people living here. One scene struck me in particular: a lonely, elderly woman walks down a muddy street as winter arrives in Ergneti, a town almost completely destroyed during the war. The losers of this political power game are the people living on either side of the buffer zone – people who lost wives, husbands, sons or daughters, who lost their homes and livelihoods amidst the shelling, burning and bombing of villages.

The images were taken in 2011 during a photo project in collaboration with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC).




Refugees in Armenia - Nagorno-Karabakh and Syria/Iraq Aftermaths.

(2012)
 
During the 1988 - 1994 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict nearly 360.000 refugees - ethnic Armenians - fled Azerbaijan to Armenia. An even higher number - over 600.000 - of Azeris were driven from Armenia and Karabakh. The government of Armenia provided the refugees from Azerbaijan with rooms in former public administrative buildings not in function after the collapse of USSR - e.g. abandoned hotels, hostels, schools or kindergartens. Many refugees acquired Armenian citizenship, others decided to hold their refugee status. Many died here as they grew older, others had success to escape the situation - but too many still survive in poor social and living conditions, and that since 20-23 years. Additionally, many ethnic Armenians fled Iraq and more recently, Syria. These ethnic Armenians are descendants of those driven from West Armenia during the 1915 Armenian Genocide, now returning to Armenia proper.


The images were taken in 2011 during a photo project in collaboration with UNHCR Armenia and Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor.











About

Peter Schön is a photographer based in Trondheim/Norway & Tbilisi/Georgia. His passion for photography started in the mountains, during several first ski descents of 5000-6000 m peak in the Andes, Pamir, Tien Shan and South Caucasus. Later, he ventured into documentary photography, with several portfolios about refugees and internally displaced people (IDP) in the South Caucasus.
Peter works as certified ACMG Ski Guide and CAA Level 3 avalanche technician.
(www.frostisen-skiguides.no)