Public Defender's Recommendation concerning Availability of Safe Water for Minors

On March 14, 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Government of Georgia with regard to theavailability of safe and harmless water for minors, protection of sanitary and hygienic standards and creation of a monitoring mechanism.

The situation of access to safe and harmless water in children’s institutions, communities and regions, as well as protection of sanitary and hygienic conditions do not comply with national and international standards and are contrary to the basic principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The problem is especially acute in the mountainous regions and villages.

According to the information received from the Food Safety Agency, 129 samples of drinking water were examined in 2015-2016. The results of the laboratory examination showed that 45 samples taken from educational establishments (public schools) failed to meet the requirements of the Decree No 58 on the Drinking Water Technical Regulations adopted by the Government of Georgia on January 15, 2014, which refers to the epidemic danger and is caused by ineffective disinfestation of water.

It is particularly problematic that the country has not determined any state monitoring body, the basic obligation of which would be the universal and regular control of quality and availability of drinking water, as well as provision of sanitary and hygienic conditions in the child care and educational facilities.

According to the Public Defender’s recommendation, a mechanism should be created for the supervision of the availability and quality of drinking water. It is also necessary the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Science to have active coordination concerning the issues of protection of quality of water and hygienic conditions in the educational institutions, as well as prevention of diseases.

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