UN rights expert urges Georgia to address child institutionalism

UN rights expert urges Georgia to address child institutionalism

[JURIST] A UN human rights expert on Tuesday called on [statement] the government of Georgia to address the reasons why children in the country are placed under protective care. UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography Maud de Boer-Buquicchio [official profile] praised the use of temporary shelters but said that the country must consider long-term solutions to children living on the street. Additionally, she stated [press release] that Georgia’s adoption and foster care laws should be updated to better protect children, as Georgia is one of only a handful of countries that allows international commercial surrogacy arrangements to foreign parents with no regulations to protect the best interests of the child. Boer-Buquicchio did express hopefulness for a better outcome, stating:

Solutions to these problems must be found in consultation with children and young people. Despite the difficulties they encounter, the children I met during my visit are full of hope for their future and want to get involved in decisions affecting their lives. As a youth representative told me, ‘We are the force that can change things, otherwise there will be a lost generation’!

Her comments came at the end of an eight-day visit to Georgia during which she met with high-level government officials, local authorities and children themselves.

The international community has been monitoring the rights of the child since the Convention on the Rights of the Child [text] entered into force in 1990. Earlier this week UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned [JURIST report] about child torture and urged a commitment to end it. Last month Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] announced [JURIST report] the filing of an amicus brief in a US federal court arguing that the failure of US government officials to appoint lawyers to represent migrant children facing deportation violates their basic rights under international law. In July 2012 a UN committee condemned [JURIST report] Israel’s treatment of child detainees. In November 2008 the US admitted [JURIST report] to the committee that it was detaining 12 juveniles in Guantanamo. This realization came only months after the committee asserted [JURIST report] that military tribunals were not the proper venue for juvenile detainees.