Championing Children’s Rights in the pre-and-post Election Period
Although numerous studies highlight significant problems and challenges in the child wellbeing system in Georgia, these topics rarely get prioritized by politicians. In order to bring these problems to the fore in pre-election debates and channel general public attention onto these issues, the Coalition for Children and Youth, comprising 49 CSOs working on children’s issues, held an intensive awareness-raising and advocacy campaign with the support of EWMI ACCESS.
The coalition prepared and widely disseminated “fact-sheets” that clearly exemplify 10 of the most pressing problems of the child well-being system in Georgia. In the pre-election period, they held individual consultations with political parties on how to address these issues in the pre- and post-electoral programs. Five political parties expressed willingness to cooperate with the Coalition: Free Democrats, For Justice, Lelo for Georgia, Republican Party, and Movement for Liberty – European Georgia.
In January, the Coalition for Children and Youth released a report titled “Child Rights in Political Party Programs” – the first ever assessment of the programs of political parties in Georgia with the focus on child issues. The study authors assessed programs of political parties participating in 2020, 2016 and 2012 parliamentary elections and made a comprehensive comparative analysis. According to the findings, children’s issues have never been among the top priorities for political parties. However, interest towards the topic has been increasing over time. In 2012, political parties only partially mentioned problems related to education and social welfare. 2016 saw other child wellbeing topics added to the election programs. This trend solidified in 2020 – violence against children was named as a top priority by many political parties (this problem was neglected during previous elections).
Even though 10 out of 12 surveyed political parties did reflect children’s issues in their election programs in 2020, with 2 even dedicating special chapters to the problem, the majority of political forces still simply describe the issues without elaborating on their resolutions. Moreover, while many studies have underlined the severity of pandemic’s psychological and social damage to children, none of the political parties is aware of international recommendations on preventing and mitigating such damage.
The Coalition will continue to advocate and monitor the implementation of commitments on the issue undertaken by political parties in the post-election period.