UNICEF is committed to doing all it can to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in partnership with governments, civil society, business, academia and the United Nations family – and especially children and young people.
TBILISI, 20 November 2009 – A joint initiative of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament of Georgia and UNICEF to create the Child Rights’ council is being announced at a special event dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The event is organized by the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament, Public Defender’s Office, UNICEF and the Delegation of the European Commission in Georgia.
The main goal of the Child Rights’ council will be to monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including the recommendations of the UN Children’s Rights Committee. The Council will also work out the legislative initiatives and policy recommendations on children in compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and international standards.
“UNICEF welcomes the initiative of the Parliament of Georgia to create the Child Rights’ Council. This establishes the coordinating mechanism for monitoring child rights as per one of the major recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child”, said Benjamin Perks, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Georgia. “We appreciate the efforts of the Parliament in advancing the rights of children in Georgia and this initiative is an important step forward in this regard”.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most ratified human rights treaty. It has transformed the way children are viewed and treated throughout the world. The Convention has 193 ratifications, the process by which countries decide to be bound by the articles of an international treaty. It articulates a set of universal children’s rights, such as the right to an identity, a name and a nationality, the right to an education, and rights to the highest possible standards of health and protection from abuse and exploitation. Georgia has made considerable progress through the past twenty years in implementation of the Convention – Trend of decreasing Infant and under 5 maternal mortality rates; Introduction of free health insurance for vulnerable population, increase of immunization coverage and ongoing efforts to bring the national practices in line with evidence based international standards is a tremendous progress.
Another important milestone is ongoing reform of child welfare system with 4000 children returned from institutions to families and alternative services developed. Birth registration has significantly been improved, especially among Azeri minority.
Decentralization of school systems, introduction of per capita funding, unified national exams and improvement of school infrastructure and pre-school and primary and secondary school enrollment is also a considerable achievement.
Ongoing reform in administration of juvenile justice to bring the system in line with international standards is another area of success.
Despite the progress there are still challenges ahead that are also underlined in the concluding observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on Georgia State Party report.
In particular, there is a need to take urgent measures for reducing high rates of neo-natal deaths and premature births, especially among minority ethnic groups, need to ensure that comprehensive child protection mechanisms are in place that protect all children from violence; that children are not placed in institutions due to lack of financial assistance, social services and effective gate-keeping mechanisms and there is the comprehensive state policy for social inclusion of disabled children in place. Active measures should be taken for improving children’s living standards in the face of persistent poverty.
“UNICEF will continue to work with the Government of Georgia to tackle these challenges and to ensure that the best interests of children are protected,” said Benjamin Perks. “It is our collective responsibility to ensure every child’s rights to survival, development, protection and participation."
More than 160 events are taking place worldwide commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Convention. UNICEF Georgia in partnership with the Delegation of the European Commission and other partners has commemorated the 20 years of the Convention with a series of events - NGO led advocacy campaign on child poverty and child rights was organized in different regions of Georgia, training for NGOs on advocacy and meetings with regional media representatives on child rights were conducted, child friendly version of the Convention interpreting and illustrating child rights in a language understandable for children was produced, lectures on child rights for the students of the Tbilisi State University and the Institute of European Studies were held and workshops and debates around the child rights were organized with participation of children.
The special edition of The State of the World’s Children tracking the impact of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the challenges that remain was also released yesterday on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Convention’s adoption by the UN General Assembly.
About UNICEF UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.