The IRCT is shocked by the reports of the torture and ill-treatment of children in the Ninotsminda orphanage run by the Orthodox Church in Georgia. The Public Defender’s Office in Georgia describes horrifying practices including sexual abuse, deprivation of food and systematic beatings of the children.
“This is torture and ill-treatment. Make no mistake about it,” said Asger Kjaerum, Director of Advocacy of the IRCT. “Any institution responsible for the care of children must uphold and protect their human rights. Ultimately, it is the State's responsibility to make sure that the rights are protected through regular monitoring and by sanctioning abuse.”
There are currently four criminal charges open against the orphanage relating to rape and violence against minors in the orphanage. The Orthodox Church have been actively preventing government agencies responsible for overseeing the orphanage from monitoring the institution.
“These children and former residents have suffered for years,” said Lela Tsiskarishvili, Executive Director of the Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT) and President of the IRCT. “It is time to give them the justice and the rehabilitation they need to begin their healing process.”
“Georgian civil society organisations know that this is not an isolated incident in the country,” said Ms Tsiskarishvili. “There is an urgent need for the government to conduct a full investigation of all orphanages run by the Orthodox Church and other private actors to ensure that no more children suffer”.
The IRCT calls on the Georgian authorities to fully investigate the abuses in accordance with the international standards on investigating torture, set out in the Istanbul Protocol. All those found responsible must be prosecuted and the State should ensure full reparation and rehabilitation for all the children who directly or indirectly suffered abuse in the institution.
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The Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT) was established in 2000 and provides qualified, multidisciplinary, health-based services to torture survivors and their family members. GCRT works to prevent torture, raise public awareness, build capacity of service providers and train law enforcement officials. GCRT is headquartered in Tbilisi, with four regional offices around the country.