Activists demand access to orphanage managed by the Georgian Patriarchate
Civil activists are rallying in Tbilisi in front of the government building and demand that the Public Defender be allowed access to an orphanage in Ninotsminda in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region.
The boarding school for orphans in the town of Ninotsminda is one of the institutions that civil activists suspect of human rights violations. The boarding school belongs to the Georgian Patriarchate, and its employees do not allow representatives of the Office of the Public Defender of Georgia, and social workers to visit the orphanage.
“These are the people who are officially demanding the legalization of same-sex marriage. Personally, I believe that such people should not be allowed into orphanages or any family at all”, Archbishop Spiridon, rector of the boarding house, explained in a video message.
At the same time, a few days ago, media spread information that journalists of the pro-Russian Altinfo media outlet and representatives of several pro-Russian organizations were allowed to visit the boarding house.
On International Children’s Day on June 1, Bishop Seraphim Jojua, who was accused of raping a minor girl in a boarding school in 2017 held a service in Ninotsminda boarding house.
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A group of ultranationalists who had gathered at the rally tried to interfere with the activists. One of them insulted and aggressively addressed civil activists and was later detained by the police.
“The state must immediately ensure that the Public Defender has access to children in the orphanage, and parliament must play a crucial role in resolving the issue quickly. As per the country’s law, large orphanages in Georgia must be closed and children must be returned to their biological families or transferred to small care facilities that create a family-like environment. All of this must be done within a reasonable period of time”, the petition says.
The Partnership for Human Rights contacted the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child back in April 2021. On May 7, the Commission responded and called on the Georgian government to immediately ensure that the Ombudsman is allowed to carry out an assessment of the situation of children in the Ninotsminda boarding school, however, the request has not yet been fulfilled.