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How does Georgia protect its rights?

By Messenger Staff
Monday, June 5
June 1 was the International Day for the Protection of Children.

For International Children's Day, Georgia’s Public Defender released a report entitled The Children's Rights Situation in Georgia.

The main problems detected in the report (which took examples from last year) included the following: child labour, implementation of the ILO Convention on the Prevention and Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour, trafficking of children and their involvement in prostitution, ineffective investigations of cases of illegal production and selling of pornographic materials, and insufficient efforts of the law enforcement agencies and juvenile’s labour migration.

“The cases of dropping out of school due to work are still frequent. In 2016 alone, 241 children dropped out of schools before the completion of the basic level of education and 924 after the completion of the basic level of education,” the Ombudsman said.

He said the situation of children living and working on the street is extremely worrying; the steps taken by the state remain ineffective, particularly in terms of the realization of the right to education, access to healthcare services and integration into society.

“As in previous years, the mortality rate of children under the age of 5 is still high. According to the preliminary data, 511 children aged between 0-1 and 93 children aged between 1-5 died in 2016,” Nanuashvili reported.

He stressed the situation of healthcare, water, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene are “extremely worrying” in childcare institutions.

“Other problems are the high rate of violence against children, ineffective measures for the identification, rehabilitation and protection of victims of violence. Cases of corporal punishment and bullying are especially problematic in general education institutions.

“According to the Social Service Agency (LEPL), 755 cases of child abuse were detected in 2016. Low number of workers and psychologists is a major challenge. It is particularly problematic that only 11 psychologists are employed in the Social Service Agency across the country,” Nanuashvili stated.

The Ombudsman also launched a campaign against harmful toys.

The results of a survey conducted by the Center for Strategic Research and Development, substance D-2-ethylholexpliflate (DEHP), which is hazardous to health and its use in toys is prohibited in the EU, was found in nine out of ten toys bought in Georgia.

The Ombudsman says important activities are planned within the Safe Toy campaign in order to establish a mechanism for monitoring the production and supply of toys, regulate the legislative and institutional market, determine the responsibility of the business sector and raise awareness of citizens.

The EU Directive on Toy Safety says that states must create toy safety and market supervision mechanisms to ensure availability of safe and secure toys for children.

The Directive should be implemented in Georgia before September 1, 2019.

“On March 9, 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia recommended the Government of Georgia to take measures for the protection of the child’s health. It is welcome that the Government of Georgia has taken into account the recommendation, but it is necessary to bring existing regulations closer to the Directive in a timely manner,” Nanuashvili says.

The Public Defender's campaign has been joined by business organizations, which are ready to support the production, import and sale of safe toys in Georgia; Association Safe Toy has been founded and an agreement has been reached on a number of basic principles.

Meanwhile, the Government of Georgia listed dozens of activities carried out by them since 2013 in order to improve children’s conditions in the country.

They stressed that hundreds of free books, medical support, free transport, allowances and others have been provided for thousands of children in Georgia.

The government truly did carry out a number of innovative changes for children in need, but the country’s general economic condition is so poor that children will never enjoy the lives they deserve until the government moves the economy forward.