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23 children still remain in Ninotsminda boarding school, says Deputy Health Minister

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, June 14
Deputy Health Minister Tamar Barkalia says that 23 children still remain in Ninotsminda boarding school. All the kids are being observed and supervised by social workers. The Deputy Health Minister told reporters that the agency is working to find families for the children as well as for strengthening the families to make the integration of the children easier.

She talked about this after a special meeting at the Patriarchate of Georgia. According to her, every side involved in the talks, including the Patriarchate, the Ministry, as well as international partners said that the interests of the children are of utmost importance.

Yesterday, another rally was held in front of the Parliament of Georgia by civil society. People gathered to protest the facts of possible violence against children in Ninotsminda boarding school. Among the demands of the protesters were:

- Immediately admit the Public Defender to the boarding house, as well as organizations working in the field of children's mental health and children's rights;

- Remove all children from the boarding school;

- Large orphanages and, above all, Ninotsminda Orphanage should be closed.

In addition, representatives of ultra-right groups arrived in the parliament with special anti-LGBT posters. They said that there are no problems in the Ninotsminda boarding school, and the current process is pressure on the Patriarchate of Georgia.

After the meeting in the Patriarchate of Georgia, the Ambassador of the EU to Georgia, Carl Hartzell also talked about the ongoing events with reporters. As he said, the meeting was a huge step forward. According to him, all sides believe that the most important thing is the interests of children.

According to Carl Hartzell, the meeting also discussed a broader strategic approach, as the issue is broader than just the case of the Ninotsminda boarding school.

The scandal around the Ninotsminda boarding schools erupted after the representatives of the Public Defender were denied entry into the building twice. It was followed by massive protests from NGOs as well as the public, after which, several former residents of the boarding school came forward to talk about the violent environment in the Ninotsminda boarding school.

The fact was followed by massive protests in Georgia as well, after which, dozens of children were taken away from the boarding school.