Practice Relating to Rule 131. Treatment of Displaced Persons
Section D. Specific needs of displaced women, children and elderly persons
Georgia’s Law on International Protection (2016), taking into account amendments up to 2017, states:
For the purposes of this Law, the terms used herein have the following meanings:
w) a person with special needs – a minor, a minor left without a legal representative, an elderly person, a person with disabilities, a pregnant woman, a single parent, a victim of trafficking, a person with a serious mental and/or physical illness, a person with post-traumatic disorder, a victim of torture, rape, or psychological, physical, or sexual violence, as well as other persons requiring special procedural guarantees in order to enjoy the rights provided for by this Law and fulfil obligations provided for by the same Law;
Article 25 – Submission of a request for international protection by a person with special needs
1. State agencies responsible for the enforcement of this Law shall immediately send to the Ministry a request for international protection submitted by a person with special needs.
2. Upon the receipt of the request for international protection from a person with special needs, the Ministry shall immediately ensure his/her transportation to and placement at an accommodation centre. The accommodation of a minor left without a legal representative shall be performed by taking into account the best interests of the minor.
3. The Ministry shall immediately inform guardianship and custody authorities defined by the legislation of Georgia about a minor left without a legal representative, and where required, shall inform such authorities about persons with disabilities. The above authorities, if required, shall ensure the appointment of a guardian/caregiver/supporter in accordance with the procedures established by the legislation of Georgia.
4. If international protection is requested by a minor left without a legal representative or a person with disabilities, who is in need of a legal representative, he/she shall immediately be registered as an asylum seeker on the basis of a protocol drawn up by an authorised official. An application for international protection shall be submitted after the appointment of a guardian/caregiver/supporter. …
5. The Ministry shall, by taking into account the best interests of a minor, and where possible, immediately find the family members of a minor left without a legal representative.
Article 49 – Legal guarantees of a minor left without a legal representative under temporary protection
A minor left without a legal representative under temporary protection shall:
a) be immediately identified and registered and be assigned a guardian/caregiver/supporter in accordance with the procedures established by the legislation of Georgia;
b) be accommodated in accordance with the procedures provided for by Article 25(2) of this Law, taking into account the best interests of the minor, and also be assisted in the process of searching for his/her parents and relatives.
The Law also states:
For the purposes of this Law, the terms used herein have the following meanings:
e) an asylum seeker – an alien or a stateless person, who has applied for international protection to a state agency and in respect of whom the Ministry has not made a decision, or a court decision has not yet entered into legal force;
In accordance with this Law, the forms of international protection in Georgia are the following:
a) refugee status;
b) humanitarian status;
c) the status of a person under temporary protection.
Article 15 – Grounds for granting refugee status
1. Refugee status shall be granted to an alien or a stateless person, who is outside the country of origin, and has a well-grounded fear that he/she may become a victim of persecution on the grounds of his/her race, religion, nationality, affiliation to a certain social group or political views, and who does not wish to, or cannot, return to his/her country of origin or enjoy the right to be protected from such country due to such fear.
Article 19 – Grounds for granting humanitarian status
1. Humanitarian status shall be granted to an alien or a stateless person who does not comply with the conditions for granting refugee status as provided for by Article 15 of this Law where there is a real risk that upon returning to the country of origin he/she will face a serious threat of damage as provided for by Article 32(3) of this Law.
Article 21 – Grounds and procedures for granting the status of a person under temporary protection
1. The Ministry shall regulate the mass entry of people and make a decision on granting the status of a person under temporary protection to people entering in mass, who require international protection and cannot return to the country of their origin due to violence, aggression, international or internal armed conflict, or due to mass violation of human rights.
Article 32 – Persecution and serious damage
1. For the purposes of Article 15 of this Law, an action shall be deemed persecution, if:
a) it is so serious by its nature or has such repeated character that fundamental human rights continue to be violated;
b) it is one of a unity of various actions, which are so severe that fundamental human rights continue to be violated.
2. The persecution provided for by paragraph 1 of this article may be expressed in the following forms:
e) criminal persecution or punishment during a conflict due to the refusal to perform actions provided for by Article 18 of this Law [among others, a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity];
3. Serious damage shall be:
c) a serious individual threat to the life of a person due to indiscriminate violence, international or internal armed conflict or mass violation of human rights.
Article 33 – Entity(ies) carrying out persecution and inflicting serious damage
Entity(ies) carrying out persecution and inflicting serious damage may be:
a) the State;
b) a group or an organisation, which controls the entire territory of the State or a significant part of the territory;
c) non-governmental entities, if the entities provided for by sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of this paragraph, including international organisations, cannot or do not desire to protect a person from persecution or serious damage as provided for by Article 32 of this Law.
Georgia’s Order on the Asylum Procedure (2017) states:
Article 13. Applications for international protection [which, under the 2016 Law of Georgia on International Protection is given to refugees who, inter alia, are fleeing criminal prosecution or punishment for refusing to commit a war crime; to those granted humanitarian status where there is a serious individual threat to their life due to, inter alia, conflict; and to those who, granted temporary protection when entering en masse, require it due to, inter alia, armed conflict in their country of origin,] by unaccompanied and separated minors or persons with disability requiring the legal representation
1. If a request for international protection is made by … unaccompanied minors or persons with disability requiring a legal representation, they shall immediately be registered as asylum-seekers and a protocol shall be developed by the competent official. The applications for international protection shall be submitted only after the appointment of a guardian/custodian/support provider. …
3. Upon the identification of unaccompanied minor or persons with disabilities requiring legal representatives, the competent official shall immediately apply to respective care and protection agencies and request the accommodation and appointment of a guardian/custodian/support provider during their stay in Georgia.
4. For every unaccompanied minor or a person with disabilities requiring the legal representative a designated guardian/custodian/support provider acting in the best interest of unaccompanied minor or person with disabilities, shall be responsible for the submission of the application for international protection.
5. The asylum-seeker’s certificate shall be issued to a guardian/custodian/support provider on behalf of unaccompanied minor or the person with disabilities requiring legal representation.
Article 18. Persons with Specific Needs
1. [The a]sylum procedure should include measures to identify asylum-seekers who may have specific needs.
2. The following categories shall be considered as persons with special needs:
b) unaccompanied minor;
c) person with disabilities;
e) pregnant women;
f) single parent with minor child(children);
g) victims of human trafficking;
h) persons with serious physical or mental health issues;
i) persons suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders;
j) victims of torture, rape, mental, physical and sexual abuse;
k) persons in need of special procedural guarantees to exercise the rights and undertake the obligations prescribed by the  Law of Georgia on International Protection.
3. When the vulnerability or specific needs of an asylum-seeker [are] identified at the stage of application for international protection, she/he should be given priority in reception and registration procedure.
4. After identification of asylum-seekers with specific needs [a] competent official shall assess the needs of these individuals.
5. Upon application for international protection made by the persons with specific needs the Department [of Migration, Repatriation and Refugee Issues at the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia] shall ensure their transportation to and accommodation in the reception center, as for unaccompanied minors, their accommodation shall be decided taking into consideration the best interests of the child. The rule for placing an asylum-seeker in the reception center or in any other place, shall be regulated by a normative act of the Minister.
6. The Ministry shall immediately inform the guardianship/custody institution when an unaccompanied minor is identified and the institution will appoint a guardian/custodian without a delay pursuant to the legislation. As for the persons with disability, appointment of guardian/custodian will be done according to the needs of an individual.
Article 20. Women with specific needs
1. Women who are victims of sexual or domestic violence, as well as pregnant women and single mothers shall be immediately provided with counselling by the competent official on the asylum procedure and their rights and obligations stipulated by the Law of Georgia on International Protection.
2. [The c]ompetent official providing counselling to women should have knowledge of techniques for interviewing women with specific needs and information on available resource[s] for appropriate medical treatment, psychological counselling, and social and legal support.
Article 21. Reviewing application for international protection submitted by unaccompanied minor
1. In all decisions and/or actions taken with regard to the asylum procedure involving unaccompanied minors[, the] best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
2. [The c]ompetent official who provides assistance and counselling to unaccompanied minors should have adequate skills and qualifications for interviewing minors as well as knowledge of basic principles and rights of the child. [The c]ompetent official working with minors should take into consideration [the] age and skills, … level of maturity as well as cognitive and communication skills of [the] unaccompanied minor.
3. A guardian/custodian/support provider shall be designated for all unaccompanied minors to ensure their adequate representation at all stages of [the] asylum procedure and that any decision taken with regard to a minor shall be in his/her best interests. If [the] unaccompanied minor is placed in a penitentiary institution of the Ministry of Corrections of Georgia or other detention facility, his/her lawyer shall be present at a profiling interview.
4. Upon the application of the unaccompanied minor for international protection, any decision taken with respect to his/her accommodation shall be in his/her best interests.