Special Report: „On the Rights of Children in NNLE Javakheti Ninotsminda St. Nino Boarding School”
Special Report on NNLE Javakheti Ninotsminda St. Nino Boarding School reflects the results of a comprehensive study conducted by the Public Defender's Office on the matter concerning Ninotsminda boarding school, the needs of the children currently living there, and the protection of the rights of former beneficiaries of the institution. The report also provides the results of reviewing the full materials of four ongoing criminal cases on alleged crimes against children in the Ninotsminda boarding school, including assessing the effectiveness of investigations. The special report includes relevant recommendations issued by the Public Defender to the relevant state agencies.
The results of the study show that despite the steps taken after the events of spring 2021, the Boarding School still faces a number of challenges, both regarding documentation processing of children and of the institution itself, as well as assessing and meeting the individual needs of children, including their bio-psycho-social needs. The study also shows that the issue of communication and exchange of information between agencies and institutions working with children is problematic and ineffective, which is against their best interests has a significant negative impact on the process of meeting their needs. The matter is aggravated by the lack of qualified specialists and child-centered support services aiming at strengthening and if necessary, rehabilitating children and their families.
The study of the issue once again confirmed that even the mere fact of the children living in the St. Nino Boarding School in Javakheti, a large residential institution, is a violation of the rights of children in state care. Nevertheless, so far it has not been possible to return every child living in the institution to their biological families and, if this is not possible, to transfer them to alternative, family-like care. In particular, as of November 22, 2021, there were 17 children registered at the boarding school, 15 of whom continued living in the institution. In addition to this, it is also disturbing that one child who has a status of a person with disabilities is still living in the boarding school. All of this points to the ineffective child care policy of government agencies to ensure a child-centered environment.
The Public Defender continues to closely monitor and assess the current situation in the Boarding School, the protection of the rights of children still living in the institution, and the former beneficiaries of the Boarding School.