United Nations Statement on the International Day of the Girl Child
TBILISI. Georgia. 11 October 2023. Today, the United Nations (UN) family in Georgia marks the International Day of the Girl Child by highlighting the urgent need for increased attention and resources to enable girls to realize their rights and achieve their full potential.
The UN in Georgia expresses its deep condolences on the murder of the 14-year-old girl in Sagarejo municipality on October 6, 2023 and calls for a prompt and thorough investigation as well as the adjudication of the perpetrator.
This tragic case of gender-based violence is a result of gender inequality, harmful practice of child marriage and sexual violence. The case demonstrates that more vigorous efforts are needed by actors involved in the State Child Protection Referral Procedures to prevent, identify, and properly respond to cases of violence. The state protection and support services for children and their families need to take proactive measures to ensure that child victims of violence, including sexual violence, receive immediate and necessary protection and support.
Considering the importance of a multi-sectoral response to eliminate the harmful practice of child marriage, the UN in Georgia calls for coordinated actions to improve the State Child Protection Referral Procedures, law enforcement practices, child-friendly judicial processes, and adolescent-friendly health services. It is pivotal to design integrated services for child survivors of sexual violence that provide both child-friendly justice processes and child psycho-social rehabilitation in one space and ensure that these services are accessible in all regions of the country. In addition, children should have access to child-friendly reporting mechanisms to seek support when and as needed.
The UN in Georgia believes that urgent change is necessary in social norms and attitudes that tolerate child marriage and sexual violence against women and girls while preventing responsible professionals from acting on the cases of violence.
Ensuring access to education, information, and health services for adolescent girls is of paramount importance as it allows them to make informed decisions about the future, protect their bodily autonomy, and freedom of choice. Empowering adolescent girls is fundamental to ending the harmful practice of child marriage and building a more just and equitable society for all. When girls have equal access to education and healthcare, they are better equipped to realize their potential and contribute to their communities.
The UN in Georgia remains committed to working with the Government of Georgia, civil society groups, and with human rights activists to address systemic problems that are the root causes of these tragedies. The UN in Georgia will continue its work to ensure that the fundamental human rights of women and girls are protected, they are equipped with the knowledge and skills and are empowered to make informed decisions about their lives.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/georgia/