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Paternity testing to better protect women and children

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, September 7
According to Parliamentary regulations, MPs define the agenda for the following week. The issue of obligatory DNA analysis has been one of Georgia's most burning issues and was given priority for the first week of the new season.

On Tuesday Deputy Chair of the Georgian Parliament, Rusudan Kervalishvili, initiated the introduction of a bill that prescribes obligatory DNA analysis. The analysis would be carried out in cases where unmarried couples have a child and take the paternity dispute to court. Courts can now demand that DNA analysis be carried out, instead of the former long and tiresome testimonies from the relatives or acquaintances of the couple.

Judge Diana Berekashvili approved of the Parliamentary initiative, which--according to her--will improve and facilitate justice “as it will be more significant and decisive evidence during the court discussions.” According to unofficial statistics the number of unofficial marriages is quite high and means that the couples live together without official registration. However when a child is born it can become the subject of their separation. Moreover, cases of aggressive or fatal treatment of pregnant women are frequent since unborn children sometimes become a “threat” to the future father.

Georgian psychologists think that the new law would not only protect the rights of children, but women who often become the subjects of derision or assault from their neighbors especially in the more rural regions. “Men often try to disgrace women they lived with by denying their children. This will be something like a moral compensation for such women to prove they are telling the truth,” psychologist Rusudan Pkhakadze said, welcoming the Parliamentary initiative.

“Being a parent is not only the right [of a couple] but also carries obligations. Thus they have to support their child till the age of 18,” said the author of the draft law, Rusudan Kervalishvili. She stressed that the law would more fully protect the rights of a child even before adulthood.

DNA analysis is a method which an English geneticist Alec Jeffreys invented in the 1980s and is based on the fact that every species and every individual has unique genetic sequences. It allows the identification of any type of organism by analyzing its genetic sequences. For Georgian paternity tests it will cost GEL 1964 for a man to have the obligatory DNA analysis, while the costs for those who are below the poverty line will be fully covered by the state.