Public Defender’s Statement on World Children’s Day

June 1 is World Children's Day. Celebrating this day is of special importance for raising awareness of children's rights. Today, it has been 30 years since Georgia, by ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child, undertook to protect the rights and freedoms of the child. Therefore, it is important to once again evaluate the rights situation of children in the country and the role of each of us in the mentioned process.

Despite the progress and many steps taken in recent years, the country still faces many important challenges in terms of protecting children's rights. The protection of children's social rights is particularly noteworthy, because the programmes operating in Georgia still cannot adequately provide long-term support or strengthening of children and their families - to achieve their further independent life. The lack of specialists working with children, the scarcity of rehabilitative services or services focused on the individual needs of children, as well as their geographical accessibility, are also worth noting.

Prevention of child abuse, timely, coordinated, child-friendly and effective response to cases, lack of awareness of children themselves or society about children's rights and their protection mechanisms are still problematic.

The special role of service provider organizations in the process of ensuring children's well-being should be mentioned. Supporting and strengthening them serve the common goal - effective protection of children's rights. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child assessed the recent steps taken by the country as dangerous and incompatible with the goals of the Convention. In particular, the adoption of the law on transparency of foreign influence, which creates the risk of further reducing the already insufficient services in the country, can negatively affect the rights situation of children in Georgia.

When talking about children's rights, it is particularly important to emphasize the promotion of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Code on the Rights of the Child relating to the child’s right to be heard, to participate and to express his/her opinion. Children should be able to participate in all decision-making processes that affect them and should be allowed to express their opinions in a form that is acceptable to them. And it is the obligation of the State, when making every decision and before implementing every action, to evaluate the impact of the mentioned on the well-being of children and only on this basis to make a decision in accordance with the best interests of the child.

Recently, in relation to the realization of freedom of expression, children have become the addressees of threats, hateful, insulting and stigmatizing statements. It is unacceptable when the children of civil activists, opposition and ruling party politicians become recipients of threatening messages. This once again indicates the current situation of children's safety, protection of their rights in the country and the role of public involvement in this process, because the safety of children and their protection should be one of the main values ​​and obligations of each of us.

The Public Defender of Georgia congratulates children on the World Children’s Day and wishes them to live in a European country, in a safe and secure environment, where the rights and freedoms of each of them will be equally and equally protected.

The Public Defender’s Office, both at the individual and systemic level, continues to assess the rights situation of children and implement appropriate measures within the scope of its authority, in order to protect children unconditionally.

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