On March 27, the Human Rights Development Fund organized a discussion in the Frontline Georgia about “the Status of Single Parents and Status Related Challenges in Georgia.” Head of the public relations about the Anti-Violence Network of Georgia Salome Chagelishvili made a speech at the discussion, who spoke about the necessity and goals to determine the status of single parent on the legislative level. She said, meetings with thousands of beneficiaries for many years demonstrated that number of single parents is quite high in Georgia and they need help from the state.
Deputy Ombudsman Eka Skhiladze also spoke about the miscarriages in the national legislation and about the necessity of amendments. She said the state shall express minimum support to the single parents as it is the most important for them.
The HRDF beneficiary, a single mother from Gori Elga Maisuradze also participated in the discussion. She told her own story and described how she has lost chance to get the status because the name of the father is recorded in the birth certificate of the child.
Assistant to the MP Levan Gogichaishvili Nino Ashordia informed the discussion participants about the position of the legislative body. MP Levan Gogichaishvili is the head of the working group in the Parliament, which works on the issues of the single parents. As Nino Ashordia said during the discussion, nobody in the legislative body has yet determined his/her position what should be changed in the law. The only state institution, which shares the position of the HRDF, is the Ministry of Justice, who also supports the idea to widen the status of single parents.
It is noteworthy that regardless abovementioned scope of the problem, civil society did not express much interest in the discussion and only a few NGO representatives participated in the meeting. Representatives of the nongovernmental organizations, who have been working in the field of human rights for years, did not participate in the discussion at all. However, they should have prioritized this problem.
Why the issue of widening the status of single parent became urgent?
In June 2015, a new article (1191 1 – single parent) was added to the Civil Code of Georgia, which states that a single parent may be a woman or a man:
A single mother shall be a person who has an illegitimate child of under the age of 18, if no record of the father of the child has been entered in to the birth record of the child.
A single mother shall also be a person who has an adoptive child of under the age of 18 and who was not in registered marriage at the time of adopting the child.
As the survey of the practice and meetings with the beneficiaries show, the parents, who meet the criteria, and who got divorced or widowed and bring up children alone have the similar problems; the single parents, who may have their children born in illegitimate marriage, but the name of the second parent is recorded in the birth certificate, were left without status because they wanted their children be protected from the discrimination and degrading from the society. So, it is unclear why only small group of people shall have possibility to get the status.