Georgia: Children are being abused, including at school

Geneva, 7 May 2024

Children in Georgia are still suffering violence and ill-treatment in many ways, including at school and in the justice system. Early and forced marriage of children of ethnic minorities and sexual abuse of children is still an acute reality. The Human Rights Center and the World Organisation Against Torture have recommended that Georgia comply with its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child ahead of the country’s review by the Committee on 8 and 9 May 2024.

Violence and abuse in schools in Georgia are common and under-reported. Bullying, physical and psychological abuse, including corporal punishment and other forms of cruel or humiliating treatment, have a devastating impact on children. Yet this problem is not high on the government’s agenda. The education system doesn’t teach children about sexual and reproductive health, which is crucial to prevent sexual abuse.

The judiciary is facing a major issue with the prevalence of a criminal subculture in prisons, especially as minors are sometimes put with adults. Certain detainees enjoy privileges and can make others do what they want, increasing the risk of abuse against the most vulnerable people, including children. Also, children victims of abuse are often revictimized when giving testimonies because of the lack of child-friendly settings or procedures.

With the Human Rights Center, we are also very concerned about the fact that early and forced marriage of children is a serious and persistent reality in Georgia. Although prohibited by the law, impunity is widespread for perpetrators, who often have their charges dismissed as part of plea deals. This hurts children’s rights and well-being.

Read our alternative report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child here.