Public Defender's Statement on Persecution of Minor Protesters on Social Networks

The Public Defender of Georgia condemns the spread of photos and phone numbers of minor protesters on social networks, and the threats, hateful and insulting statements made against them. In the current political situation, inter alia, we can hear stigmatizing statements made by politicians towards children. It is also strongly unacceptable that minor children of both civil activists and politicians representing the opposition and the ruling party have become the addressees of threatening messages.

This is contrary to the values of human rights and democratic principles of the country, is very dangerous and causes a high risk of violence against children.

It is the direct obligation of the State to respond to each case immediately and effectively and to do everything possible, including by taking preventive measures, to ensure that the safety and well-being of each minor is fully protected.

In addition, protecting the safety and interests of minors should be one of the most important values of society and the obligation of each person.

The Public Defender of Georgia emphasizes that children enjoy freedom of expression and peaceful assembly guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Code on the Rights of the Child. Minors have the right to be informed, to express their opinions about the events ongoing in the country and to be involved in the decision-making process. It is extremely unacceptable that they become the target of attacks while exercising this right.

When minors enjoy freedom of assembly, the State must act with special care and take appropriate, preventive and additional measures to protect their safety. Before the implementation of the measure stipulated by the law, first of all, it should be assessed what impact it may have on the life and health of children.

The Public Defender calls on the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, the Special Investigation Service and the Personal Data Protection Service to study each violation of the rights of minors and take all possible measures to respond to each case with an effective and child-friendly approach.

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