Public Defender Refused Again to Monitor Ninotsminda Children's Boarding School

On April 15, 2021, representatives of the Public Defender of Georgia were not allowed to monitor the Javakheti Ninotsminda St. Nino boarding school for orphans operating under the Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Representative of the institution named the instruction of Skhalta Archbishop Spiridon as a reason for the above.

57 children are currently enrolled in the boarding school, the youngest of whom is 5 years old. Neither the social worker of the State Care Agency is allowed to monitor the facility. In particular, no social worker of the Agency has entered the boarding house since June 2020. The official correspondence provided by the Agency to the Public Defender states that Archbishop Spiridon is against the visits of social workers to the boarding school, which was confirmed by a social worker as well.

The Public Defender has been noting for years that the monitoring carried out at the St. Nino children's boarding school in Ninotsminda revealed serious cases of violence against children and punishment of children. Minors living in the boarding school are virtually isolated from the society and the satisfaction of their individual needs is problematic.

The Public Defender is alarmed by the situation in the institution and the neglect of the best interests of minors by the State. Accordingly, the Public Defender calls on the Government of Georgia and the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia to:

  • Present a specific action plan for placing the children of boarding schools in state care and meeting their needs in the short period of time
  • Immediately apply all measures to ensure that the Public Defender and social workers can visit the boarding house and have individual relationship with children
  • Present a plan for the deinstitutionalization of large institutions and start its gradual implementation with the broad involvement of stakeholders.
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