The coalition of Georgian civil society organizations, comprised of Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC), Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) and Partnership for Human Rights (PHR) submitted on July 8 a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to the United Nations Human Rights Council, analyzing the state of implementation of social and economic rights by the Government of Georgia.
The document, covering the period between 2015 and 2020, reviews several issues, including rights to adequate housing; work and employment; social rights of children; and reproductive and sexual health of women with disabilities.
The CSOs named protection of the right to adequate housing and fighting against homelessness among the “most acute challenges in the country.” According to them, “the problems faced by various groups, who have become homeless as a result of socioeconomic vulnerability, are aggravated by the absence of the national housing strategy, as well as the lack of relevant legislative and institutional framework and housing services.”
Meanwhile, a wide range of Georgian municipalities does not follow the requirement of the registration of homeless persons. “As for July 2020, out of 69 municipalities, only 13 municipalities have approved special rules for the registration of homeless persons, which set additional requirements in the registration process,” the UPR reads.
It also added that “these requirements are different from one municipality to another and create an unequal approach between the persons with the same housing needs.”
Because of the legislative, policy, and institutional drawbacks, as well as the lack of financial resources, both short-term and long-term housing services exist only in a very limited manner, which does not contribute to solving the problem of homelessness in the long run, CSOs noted.
Speaking of labor rights, the CSOs highlighted that despite certain legislative amendments, the rights of employees “are not sufficiently regulated, which allows employers to violate workers’ rights.” “Protection of working time and overtime, minimum wages, leaves, and all other fundamental rights is still a pressing issue,” the document reads.
The CSOs noted that Georgia has not yet ratified the majority of the ILO Conventions, such as the Labor Inspection Convention, the Weekly Rest (Industry) Convention, Safety and Health in Mines Convention, Minimal Wage Fixing Convention, Hours of Work (Industry) Convention, “the ratification of which and their subsequent provision in national legislation will greatly improve workers’ legal rights.”
Discussing social rights of children, the UPR stressed that Georgia lacks a “setup system and corresponding strategy of social protection,” that would provide the populace with “fair, targeted and effective aid which will be oriented on the empowerment of vulnerable groups and aim to overcome poverty.”
The CSOs said “high rates” of child poverty reveal that the state policy is not oriented on its eradication, adding that the placement of teenagers under state protection due to poverty remains an issue. In this context, they noted that the legal status of children living and working on the streets remains the “most acute problem of child poverty.”
The document also reveals that in terms of access to general education, one of the most vulnerable groups are children from ethnic
The UPR also highlighted that women with disabilities, including mental health-related disabilities, do not have access to reproductive and sexual health services. Meanwhile, the health rights of women with mental health problems at psychiatric and state care institutions “constitutes one of the most important and so far unsolved challenges.”