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UN Report Highlights Problems of Children’s Rights in Georgia

02.07.2008
The UN Children’s Rights Committee evaluated the situation in Georgia in terms of children’s rights and shared its conclusion and recommendations. The Committee prepares a report on children’s rights in every four year after having studied the various reports by the government and NGOs. 

The Human Rights Center prepared a chapter on juvenile justice administration that demonstrated the situation in Georgia in this regard and is part of the joint alternative NGO report on children’s rights.

Based on the Human Rights Center’s information the UN Children’s Rights Committee provided its recommendations to the Government of Georgia. The UN Children’s Rights Committee is concerned that:

1. The criminal justice system towards children is inadequate to the requirements of the Children’s Rights Convention.
2. After having abolished the commission of minors, no other such commission or institution was created to replace the previous one.
3. The number of juvenile prisoners has increased.
4. There are no juvenile courts.
5. There is no effective mechanism, which would enable sentencing juveniles to prison only as the last resort and in extreme cases.
6. The alternative sentences are rarely applied, which is caused by the policy of zero tolerance that was declared in 2006.
7. The period of pre trial detention is more than actually necessary. Moreover, the juveniles are restricted from seeing their relatives.
8. The conditions in jails are unsatisfactory.
9. There are no conditions for physical, psychological and social reintegration in prisons.

The Children’s Rights Committee recommends that juvenile courts (an appropriate number of them) should be created and that those involved in this system should be trained and the children should be sentenced to prison only as the last remedy

The Children’s Rights Committee is concerned with the amendments adopted by the Parliament of Georgia with which the age of criminal responsibility has been reduced from 14 to 12 years of age.
 
The Committee recommends that this law be changed and the age of criminal responsibility should be restored to 14 years of age.

Georgia should create effective system for protecting juvenile victims and witnesses.

Tea Topuria, Tbilisi 

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