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UNICEF protects children’s rights

By Natalie Osipovi
Thursday, December 26
The results of one-year’s work were summarized by the Child Rights Centre of the Public Defender’s Office and UNICEF at Courtyard Marriott Hotel on December 24.

The meeting began with the greeting of the deputy Public Defender of Georgia, Paata Beltadze. According to his statement, during the monitoring of children’s institutions, the Public Defender’s Office will be guided by the specially developed standards based on best international practices.

Psychologist Maia Gedevanishvili, a specialist in children’s rights, said a word about the problems of the high mountainous areas (Mountainous Adjara, Akhmeta Region, the Pankisi Gorge, and the Kazbegi Region).

“We held many meetings with the representatives of the mentioned areas and unfortunately the results are not satisfying. Our meetings were aimed at discussing the problematic issues related to children’s rights in the regions. We also wanted to introduce the Child Rights Centre of the Public Defender’s Office to the local communities. The main problem of the mentioned areas is the physical bullying of children,” Gedevanishvili said.

According to Gedevanishvili’s statement, the problem of psychological bullying is more in urban areas than in the rural areas.

Within the project the capacity of the Centre has also been enhanced in the monitoring of juvenile establishments at the Tbilisi No8, Kutaisi No2 and Juvenile No11 Special Establishments.

The monitoring of imprisoned juveniles was focused on the following: living conditions of the juveniles, right to fresh air, disciplinary measures, contact with the outside world, rehabilitation and re-socialization, education, establishment personnel, sending-receiving parcels and cash transfers, complaints and applications, hygiene, healthcare and nutrition.

Recommendations are now being developed that will be sent to the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance for further action and will be reflected in the Public Defender’s 2013 Report.

The chairman of the project, Teona Kuchava, says that the project has brought much progress to the problems of the Child Rights Centre.

UNICEF has been closely cooperating with the Child Rights Centre of the Public Defender’s Office since its establishment in 2001. In 2010, UNICEF supported the Child Rights Centre in developing the three-year-strategy and action plan.

The representatives of the Child Rights Centre throughout the year have been actively collaborating with NGOs to support the ratification of the Third Optional Protocol of the CRC on “Communications Procedures.” Within the framework of the project the regional representatives of the Public Defender’s Office have been trained on the skills of responding to child rights violations in the regions.