Special Report on Child Labour During Novel Coronavirus Pandemic and Beyond

On April 2, 2021, the Public Defender of Georgia Nino Lomjaria presented a special report - Child Labour During the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic and Beyond. The report reflects and analyzes the situation in the country in terms of child labour, the impact of the pandemic on child labour, legislative gaps and problems identified in practice. The report was drawn up with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The study pays special attention to the compliance of national legislation on child labour with international standards. The report is based on the findings of the legal and practical study conducted by the Public Defender's Office, which covered four regions of the country: Adjara, Guria, Kakheti and Samtskhe-Javakheti. The practical research focused on child labour in the household, formal sector and informal sector, including street labour and labour migration. 36 meetings were held and 2 interviews were conducted with organizations working on child labour and human rights, representatives of state agencies and local self-governments, school teachers, juveniles and household representatives.

"Along with increased poverty during Covid-19, the risk of involving children in labour has increased. Seasonal involvement of juveniles in household work is particularly prevalent in the regions, where they perform heavy work in exchange for pay. In addition, due to the lack of resources and staff focused on the elimination of child labour on the streets, it is not possible to prevent cases in a timely manner or to properly identify the needs of children living and working on the streets. The level of public awareness on children’s labour right and their protection from harmful forms of labour is low; The public is, in some cases, tolerant of such cases," the Public Defender said.

"Georgia has joined the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other important international instruments and thus it has the obligation to protect children from hazardous labour. The Code on the Rights of the Child, which took effect several months ago, provides for the protection of children from harmful forms of labour, creation of specific mechanisms for the elimination of child labour, both at the national and municipal levels. The United Nations Children's Fund continues to work with the Government and the Public Defender’s Office to carry out systemic changes, prevent child labour and strengthen families," said Ghassan Khalil, UNICEF Representative in Georgia.

Ana Buchukuri, Member of Parliament of Georgia and Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, and Maka Peradze, Head of the Human Rights Secretariat of the Government of Georgia, also delivered welcoming speeches at the presentation.

The findings of the study were presented by expert Ana Diakonidze and Deputy Public Defender Ekaterine Skhiladze.

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