Contribution to the EU-Armenia and EU-Georgia Human Rights Dialogue 2016

Photography credits: Silviu Ghetie

During the month of April, ChildPact has contributed to the Human Rights Dialogue that took place between the EU and the partner countries Armenia and Georgia. The submitted written contributions have been mandated by the ChildPact members, the Armenian Network for Child Protection and the Georgian Coalition for Children and Youth.

ChildPact’s inputs to the Human Rights Dialogue were supported, on the one hand, by the every-day reality from the ground as experienced by the child protection experts from the national networks, and, on the other hand, by the results revealed by the Child Protection Index.

ChildPact, together with World Vision International, implemented the Child Protection Index to assess the extent to which Armenia, Georgia and other countries in the region comply with the UNCRC. The Index – a comparative policy tool made of 626 indicators – has looked at those UNCRC articles that are the most relevant for the vulnerable children in the region. The results illustrate the government’s actions towards child protection through the lens of policy, service delivery, capacity, accountability and coordination.

Accordingly, the top recommendations made by ChildPact to the EU with regard to the advancement of child rights in Armenia were as follows:

  1. A. (i) Further cross-sector coordination and cooperation mechanisms are needed between the bodies within the child protection system. (ii) Performance mechanisms, roles and responsibilities need to be clearly defined at all the relevant levels of administration.
  2. B. (i) The performance mechanisms, roles and responsibilities of the child protection units and of the professionals working with children need to be revised. (ii) Social workers should be included in the child protection units both at regional and community level.
  3. Child protection services need to be further developed, together with quality standards and licensing mechanisms for the child protection actors.
  4. (i) Armenia should continue the process of deinstitutionalisation while developing alternative care services. (ii) Armenia should include a specific number of foster care families in each year’s annual state budget.
  5. Violence against children is a systemic concern in Armenia and the measures meant to fight it are poor and insufficient.
  6. (i) The Armenian juvenile justice system needs to be reformed and become more child-friendly; (ii) Children should have better access to justice to speak up when their rights are being violated.

You can read our full written contribution here.

For the Human Rights Dialogue between the EU and Georgia, ChildPact made the following recommendations for the improvement of child welfare:

(A) The quality of social services for children needs to be considerably improved through: (1) Increased social expenditure dedicated to social services for children; (2) Equal access to social services for all vulnerable children. Every child should have equal access to social services, regardless of their social background, or geographic location. And the local child protection services should be better developed; (3) Qualitative delivery of child protection services; (4) Proper monitoring of the implementation of child protection services – the state fails to encourage evidence-based interventions; (5) The establishment of professional and quality standards for social workers.

(B) Integration and support programs should be developed for youth leaving the child protection system. The state should have care procedure standards in place to ensure that children about to live the child protection system are prepared for independent living and for proper integration in the society.

(C) The juvenile justice system needs to be reformed and become more child-friendly

(D) An action plan for child rights needs to be tailored to efficiently address child issues. Children rights and child protection should not be forgotten from the next action plan implementing the Human Rights National Strategy 2014-2020, and it should be kept separately, together with the HR Action Plan.

You can read our full written contribution here.