A total of 11 minors, including one with disabilities, have been removed from the Patriarchate’s boarding school in Ninotsminda amid allegations of violence.
The Health Ministry announced earlier today that its State Care Agency, which deals with the most vulnerable groups in Georgia, will ensure the selection of an alternative form of care for the children.
The main priority of the state is to protect their rights and their best interests. The State Care Agency continues to work at the Ninotsminda boarding school based on this principle”, the Health Ministry said.
Tbilisi City Court earlier ruled that children with disabilities be removed from the boarding school following an appeal from the Partnership for Human Rights (PHR).
Lawyers of PHR however claim that the court ruling technically refers to all children in the institution, and that they should return either to their biological families or to foster care.
PHR Executive Director Ana Arganashvili explained that with its ruling the court has acknowledged that the children face abuse in the boarding school, and therefore all of them should be taken out.
Public Defender Nino Lomjaria, who has been denied entry to the boarding school on multiple occasions, has also noted the importance of the court ruling as proof of the overall threat against the children.
It is essential that the court assesses the general situation in the orphanage as hazardous and the ruling should not be perceived as implying that the danger exists only in relation to children with disabilities” the Public Defender has stated.
Lomjaria once again calls on all relevant state agencies ‘to take coordinated measures to enforce the court decision immediately, with maximum protection of the interests and safety of children’.
She stated earlier this week that the country’s Prosecutor’s Office is investigating three cases of alleged violence and one case of alleged rape in the Ninotsminda boarding school that have supposedly taken place in the last five years.
Archbishop Spiridon, who administers the boarding school, stated several times that he will not allow the public defender’s monitors into the building ‘because Lomjaria and her staff support anti-Cristian attitudes’.
The patriarchate has announced that they will appeal against the court ruling as ‘no sufficient evidence’ about abuse or violence against the minors has been provided.