09TBILISI347, GEORGIA: 2008 WORST FORs4ZPTbreform a priority and has significantly increased

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI347 2009-02-20 13:23 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #0347/01 0511323
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201323Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1012

UNCLAS TBILISI 000347 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC, EEB, DOL/ILAB for TINA MCCARTER and DRL/ILCSR for 
TU DANG 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI USAID
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: 2008 WORST FORs4ZPTbreform a priority and has significantly increased 
expenditures for education over the past few years from 13.2 million 
USD in 2003 to 282 million USD budgeted for 2008.  In 2008, 158 
million USD were allocated to support primary and secondary schools 
 
(compared to 104 million in 2006).  Reforms in the education sector 
have focused on improving the quality of education, and the creation 
of vocational-professional education opportunities.  The GoG in 2006 
provided funds for the construction of 34 new schools and complete 
rehabilitation of 57 schools, thus improving learning conditions for 
300,000 children.  These programs further continued in 2007 and 
2008.  Another GoG program focused on the computerization of schools 
throughout the country, benefiting over 600 schools.  According to 
the government's plan, all schools in Georgia will be renovated and 
fully equipped by 2010, at a cost of GEL 80 million per year.  The 
U.S. Government will provide assistance in FY2009 to help 
rehabilitate schools that were damaged or destroyed during the 
August 2008 war with Russia. 
 
19. Georgian legislation mandates compulsory primary and secondary 
education (nine academic years in total) which is provided for free. 
 Through various initiatives and programs the GoG has started 
providing free books for new school entrants, as well as free 
Qproviding free books for new school entrants, as well as free 
transportation for children in rural areas.  However, the high price 
of school books still remains a serious concern. 
 
20. In 2006, the Ministr9QQAUW 
 
the framework of a presidwQIQQ\{t and 
response to this new program has been very positive.  In the 
aftermath of the recent conflict with Russia, more than $1.2 billion 
in reconstruction projects have been pledged by the GoG and 
international donors.  In July 2008, USAID launched a $2.4 million 
vocational training program to link two vocational centers in 
Tbilisi to employers in the tourism and light construction sectors. 
child labor laws is found to have occurred, Article 42 of the 
Administrative Violations Code empowers the courts to impose 
sanctions on the employer. 
 
8. At the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, one deputy minister 
focuses on labor issues; there is also a special advisor to the 
Minister for labor issues.  The Ministry monitors adherence to 
accepted labor standards and drafts proposals for changes it deems 
necessary.  The Parliamentary Committee of Health and Social 
Security has general oversight over labor policy and considers labor 
related proposals submitted by the Ministry. 
 
9. Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Georgia imposes punishment 
for involving a minor in the following activities: 
 
-- involving a minor in prostitution or other sexual perversion or 
persuading a minor into any other anti-social activity is punishable 
by community service up to 240 hours, by corrective labor for up to 
two years, by administrative detention for up to three months, or by 
imprisonment for up to two years; 
 
-- involving a minor in abuse of an intoxicant or any other medical 
substance is punishable by probation for up to three years, or by 
administrative detention for up to four months, or by imprisonment 
for up to three years. 
 
10. The criminal code prohibits the employment of a minor in 
prostitution, production of pornographic material or presentation. 
Also, according to Article 255 of the Criminal Code, the production, 
sale, distribution or promotion of a pornographic work containing an 
image of a minor is punishable by fine, by corrective labor for up 
to three years, or by imprisonment for up to three years.  Article 
255 also imposes a prison term up to 5 years for involving a minor 
in the production of pornographic material.  If any of the above 
violations are committed by a business or organization, the 
punishment includes fines and removal of operating permits. 
 
11. In 2007, a group composed of representatives of international 
donor organizations, Georgia's largest internet providers, the 
prosecutor's office, Parliament staff, the Georgia National 
Communication Commission, foreign experts and UNICEF worked on 
legislation to help the Ministry of Internal Affairs and 
Prosecutor's office combat child pornography.  The law would 
complement existing legislation and criminalize the possession, 
distribution, production and advertising of child pornography.  It 
would also provide protection for the identity of the victims, 
witnesses and the accused, and would impose punishment on media 
sources for disclosing such information.  The draft provides for 
removal of the child from a harmful situation and his or her 
placement in the best possible environment.  The draft law was 
submitted for Parliament's approval early in 2008; however, because 
of the Georgia-Russia war of August 2008 and related political and 
economic crisis, the hearing of the draft law was postponed and 
remains pending. 
 
12. The GoG relies on donor organizations to raise public awareness 
and provide training activities on child labor-related issues.  In 
2005 and 2006, UNICEF sponsored a project, implemented by the NGO 
World Vision, to support integration of street children into 
society.  Training was provided to both NGOs and government 
authorities and a public-awareness campaign was conducted. 
 
13. To improve the situation of vulnerable children in Georgia, EU 
TACIS is implementing a Support to Child Welfare Reform project. 
The project is intended to build the Government of Georgia's 
capacity to reform the national child care system according to the 
Qcapacity to reform the national child care system according to the 
principles and standards of the United Nations Convention on the 
Rights of the Child.  Activities include drafting secondary 
legislation and a child welfare policy framework, building capacity 
at the national and lower administrative levels to plan, manage, and 
monitor the reformed child care system, including specialized bodies 
for ensuring that standards and norms are met; and building capacity 
at the lower administrative level to offer child care services to 
vulnerable children and families. 
 
14. ILO does not have a national representative in Georgia, but it 
opened a small office to coordinate its projects that focus on 
anti-trafficking in persons (TIP) activities.  The GoG has agreed 
with the ILO to undertake an assessment of child labor.  A Joint 
Rapid Assessment issued by ILO, Save the Children and UNICEF focused 
on conflict-affected (August war) children rather than on general 
child population and their issues. 
 
15. Since 2004, Government funding for alternative children care 
services increased by 450 percent (from $480 thousand to $2.67 
million).  During the same period, the number of state social 
workers providing family support, reintegration and foster care 
services increased by from 51 to 178, and the number of children in 
state child care institutions decreased by 51% (from 5200 to 2690). 
Boarding schools have been reorganized to give children the 
opportunity to integrate and study at the public schools.   The 
Government set national minimum standards for family support and 
adopted family substitute services.   The Government also provided 
Higher Education Grant programs for children who have been deprived 
of care (full coverage of Tuition and stipend) and provided 
emergency assistance to families (medical or other). 
 
16. The GoG implemented the following programs in 2007-2008: 
 
-- A program to Support Orphans and Children Deprived of Parental 
Care that has six subprograms aimed at providing higher and 
professional education to children who are graduates of child care 
institutions, to assist with  their socialization and integration 
into society; assisting local government bodies with implementing 
foster care; cash assistance to vulnerable families to prevent 
abandonment of children; and improving equipment at children's homes 
and boarding schools. 
 
-- A Family Support Program aimed at consultation and psychological 
service for socially vulnerable families and their children, and for 
teaching handicrafts to 14-16 year olds; 
 
-- Children's Village and Day Care Centers aimed at improvement of 
conditions, educational opportunities and health care provision for 
abandoned and disabled children; 
 
-- Reorganization of four residential institutions in Tbilisi; 
 
-- Government support for USAID, UNICEF and Save the Children's 
Rebuilding Lives Project for street children, to use it for 
designing an appropriate strategy to respond to problems of this 
vulnerable group. 
 
17. The main results of the Prevention of Child Abandonment and 
Deinstitutionalization Program as of the end of 2008 were: 
 
-- Sixty new Social Workers recruited; 
-- Five day care centers financed (Rustavi, Tianeti, Akhmeta, 
Tbilisi); 
-- Six small group homes financed (Telavi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi, 
Ozurgeti, Mtskheta); 
-- Four hundred new foster care cases opened; 
-- Three hundred new reintegration cases opened; 
-- Nine hundred new prevention/protection cases opened. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
Social Programs to Prevent Involving 
Children in the Worst Forms of Child Labor 
------------------------------------------ 
 
18. The GoG, through the Ministry of Education and Science, has made 
education reform a priority and has significantly increased 
expenditures for education over the past few years from 13.2 million 
USD in 2003 to 282 million USD budgeted for 2008.  In 2008, 158 
million USD were allocated to support primary and secondary schools 
(compared to 104 million in 2006).  Reforms in the education sector 
have focused on improving the quality of education, and the creation 
of vocational-professional education opportunities.  The GoG in 2006 
provided funds for the construction of 34 new schools and complete 
rehabilitation of 57 schools, thus improving learning conditions for 
300,000 children.  These programs further continued in 2007 and 
2008.  Another GoG program focused on the computerization of schools 
throughout the country, benefiting over 600 schools.  According to 
the government's plan, all schools in Georgia will be renovated and 
fully equipped by 2010, at a cost of GEL 80 million per year.  The 
U.S. Government will provide assistance in FY2009 to help 
rehabilitate schools that were damaged or destroyed during the 
August 2008 war with Russia. 
 
19. Georgian legislation mandates compulsory primary and secondary 
education (nine academic years in total) which is provided for free. 
 Through various initiatives and programs the GoG has started 
providing free books for new school entrants, as well as free 
Qproviding free books for new school entrants, as well as free 
transportation for children in rural areas.  However, the high price 
of school books still remains a serious concern. 
 
20. In 2006, the Ministry of Education announced it was making 
vocational education a priority.  Twelve centers of vocational 
education were set up in different areas.  Starting in 2006, 
rehabilitation of vocational educational institutions began within 
the framework of a presidential program.  In 2008, the GoG allocated 
5.2 million USD for financing vocational schools.  The program aims 
at attracting students by providing a quality education that 
corresponds to labor market requirements.  Industry interest and 
response to this new program has been very positive.  In the 
aftermath of the recent conflict with Russia, more than $1.2 billion 
in reconstruction projects have been pledged by the GoG and 
international donors.  In July 2008, USAID launched a $2.4 million 
vocational training program to link two vocational centers in 
Tbilisi to employers in the tourism and light construction sectors. 
Industry interest and respo
nse to this new program has been very 
positive.  In the aftermath of the recent conflict with Russia, more 
than $1.2 billion in reconstruction projects have been pledged by 
the GoG and international donors.  USAID has increased the funding 
of its current vocational training program to $4.1 million to train 
approximately 20,000 Georgian workers to fill job opportunities 
created by post-conflict reconstruction projects as well as 
secondary support industries through rapid, intensive courses that 
directly meet the needs of employers.  These training courses are 
open to adults and youths above the age of 16 years. 
 
21. As the lead coordination agency in the field of education, 
UNICEF spearheaded an initiative to ensure that all children had 
access to school at the start of the new academic year.  This has 
been done through coordination and oversight of activities in the 
areas of rehabilitation and supplies for schools; registration of 
internally displaced children in local schools; assistance to the 
Ministry of Education and Science in providing alternative schooling 
arrangements for communities where schools are being used as 
collective centers; the provision of Mine Risk Education in schools 
in conflict-affected areas; training and support for teachers and 
staff from Educational Resource Centers and general support to the 
Ministry of Education and Science.  UNICEF, and its partner 
organizations, are working with schools and municipal authorities to 
ensure that lack of documentation and undefined status do not act as 
barriers to education for displaced children.  UNICEF is also 
working with the Ministry of Education and Science to deliver day 
care activities and identify alternative preschool facilities where 
local kindergartens are still occupied by IDPs. 
 
-------------------------------- 
General Situation on Child Labor 
-------------------------------- 
 
22. In general, the employment of minors under age 16 is not 
considered to be a problem in Georgia given the high rate of 
unemployment and concurrent availability of an adult labor force 
willing to work in low paying jobs.  The most visible form of child 
labor is street begging in Tbilisi.  Many of these children are 
ethnic Roma. 
 
23. According to a 1999 UNICEF study, there were an estimated 2,500 
children living and working in the streets at that time.  A 2007 
study of street children by the NGO Save the Children indicates that 
the number has significantly decreased since then.  The study found 
700-800 children on the street in the entire country, with about 
half of them living in Tbilisi.  The risky lifestyles of children 
living on the streets expose them to alcohol and drug abuse, HIV/STD 
infection and exploitation.  Studies indicate that street children 
are involved in a variety of activities: selling foodstuffs, 
begging, heavy labor (e.g., unloading railway carriages, in which 
some children sleep), stealing, and prostitution.  Most appear to 
have homes and to give their earnings, or some part of them, to 
their families or to adults who direct their activities.  Children 
on the streets and those in special shelters are especially 
susceptible to crime. 
 
24. Many minors under age 16 work and perform chores on home farms 
in rural areas, though this activity is not considered harmful and 
is not governed by labor legislation.  Currently, the GoG lacks any 
mechanism that would allow reasonable assessment of numbers or 
working conditions for these children. 
 
25. The Association of Employees of Georgia contracted a research 
Q25. The Association of Employees of Georgia contracted a research 
group to conduct a survey "Child Labor in Agricultural Sector" to 
study the effect of employment on the development of working 
children in one of the spheres of agriculture, namely, fruit 
growing.  The survey interviewed 200 households, both parents and 
children.  Main employment practices included care of sister-brother 
and other family members, cleaning/tidying up the yard, feeding 
domestic animals, chopping wood, soil cultivation and gathering 
harvest.  Almost all such children are occupied in their own 
households.  The study focused on issues such as the effect of 
employment on children's health and education.  Only one in ten 
children said that employment hinders them from studying.  However, 
the study observed a negative impact on children's health. 
Adolescents who are involved in agricultural sector get sick more 
often than other children.  The study did not confirm a hypothesis 
that orking children are less involved in social activities. 
 
LOGSDON

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