We have all seen the progress that has been made in the last few days in removing a large number of children from boarding school, – EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell said after his meeting this week at the Patriarchate. “At the same time, monitoring of the condition of children who remain in the school continues.”
The Ambassador noted that during the meeting with representatives of the Patriarchate and the Ministry of Health, they discussed the next steps to ensure the well-being of the children.
“I attended the meeting with the representatives of the Patriarchate and the Ministry of Health. UNICEF also participated. First of all, we discussed the situation at the Ninotsminda orphanage. I think we are all seeing the progress that has been made in the last few days in removing a large quantity of children from the boarding house. At the same time, monitoring of the condition of children who remain in boarding school will continue.
“I believe now we see the level of openness and transparency around the created situation, which is absolutely necessary and it is good.
“We’ve discussed what the next steps will be now to ensure that the focus on the well-being of these children is maintained. We also had the opportunity to discuss broader issues in the direction of deinstitutionalization. I saw that a working group has been set up in Parliament to work on the Code of Children’s Rights, which is very welcome. The role of Parliament will be very useful in this process. On behalf of the European Union, I can say that we are already involved in this process and we want to make sure that we can continue to help in this process. I would say that today’s meeting was very useful,” Hartzell said.
At this stage, there is no talk of closing the Ninotsminda children’s boarding school, where alleged crimes against children took place over the past years.
The construction of small orphanages is planned in Ninotsminda, the head of the public relations department of the Patriarchate, Archpriest Andria Jagmaidze, said after a meeting between the Minister of Health, Ekaterine Tikaradze and representatives of the Patriarchate.
He noted that the orphanages to be built in Ninotsminda will meet international standards.
Recently, the boarding school was visited by Public Defender Nino Lomjaria, who got acquainted with the situation on the ground.
“I don’t believe the children can express their will freely in these walls, in this space and in the conditions of those caregivers they had, so it is very important that these children be transferred to alternative care,” she told reporters on June 28.
By Ana Dumbadze