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Georgia
16.10.07
Urgent Interventions

NGOs call on Georgian government to protect children from violence

In a shadow report submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child[1], the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), together with two Georgian NGOs: Human Rights Centre (HRIDC) and Public Health and Medicine Development Fund of Georgia (PHMDF) have documented the serious shortcomings of the Georgian child protection system that leads to the increase of violence against children in Georgia.

In the report, the NGOs point out the responsibility of the Georgian State for the lack of due diligence in cases where children are victims of violence at home or in schools. Indeed, out of hundreds of cases of child abuse recorded each year in Georgia, none of them have led to prosecution. Georgia must establish indispensable mechanisms and procedures to ensure that violence against children is reported, that such cases are carefully followed up by official organs and that child victims are protected and assistance is provided to them. The government must give priority to future generations by providing the financial and technical resources necessary to enable institutions such as the Child Care and Guardianship Bodies and the police to carry out these responsibilities.

Moreover, the shadow report clearly shows the worrying situation of children in conflict with the penal law and calls for the establishment of a genuine juvenile justice system in Georgia. As recent figures show, detention is clearly overused and leads to overpopulation in places where minors are detained. This is the case in the Avchala colony in Tbilisi where there are currently 126 child detainees and where more than 210 juveniles were living in July 2007 before the so-called riot followed by the transfer of tens of juveniles to another prison, whereas the facility was built to receive 60 boys.

The report also urges the Georgian Parliament to cancel the recent amendment of the criminal legislation lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility from fourteen (14) to twelve (12) for the most serious crimes. The Georgian authorities should amend this legislation before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child ask them to do so during the examination of the third periodic report in January 2008.

There have been recent projects to improve juvenile justice mainly from NGOs and UNICEF but none have been implemented by the government. It is now becoming urgent that Georgia build a real juvenile justice system in compliance with relevant international standards, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to the NGOs, this should definitely include alternative measures to detention and diversion programmes and be aimed at social reinsertion.

Facing the worrying picture of violence against children in Georgia, NGOs call on the government to be responsible by giving priority to children and to take immediate and adequate action to protect them all. NGOs encourage the Georgian population and the Medias to ask the President and the government to take action in favour of an effective protection of children from violence.

The alternative report on Violence Against Children in Georgia is available here.

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For further information, please contact:

  • Mrs Cécile Trochu Grasso, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), email: ct@omct.org; Tel: 0041 22 809 49 39.
  • Mrs Lia Saralidze, Public Health and Medicine Development Fund of Georgia (PHMDF), email: l_saralidze@phmdf.ge; Tel: 00 995 32 421 422; Fax: 00 995 32 421 423.
  • Ms Nino Gvedashvili, Human Rights Centre (HRIDC), email: nino@hridc.org; Tel: 00 995 32 37 69 50; Fax: 00 995 32 45 45 33.

[1] The process of the examination of State parties’ initial or periodic reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child includes the possibility for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to submit a complementary shadow report to the Committee on the situation of the rights of the child in the country examined. It aims at providing the Committee with alternative and objective information in order to help in the drafting of the List of issues.

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