Lado Javakhishvili is a lawyer by training and has spent nearly 10 years in public service working within the Georgian justice system. Up until the end of 2021 Lado served as the Deputy Director at the National Agency for Crime Prevention, under the Ministry of Justice, but with a growing desire to contribute to restorative justice and support of juvenile justice beyond the political constraints of working for government, Lado moved his career into civil society. He founded the Institute for Democracy and Justice in Tbilisi and launched his civic activism with a Fellowship project focused on the protection of the rights of children who are victims of crime.
“Juveniles are some of the most vulnerable of citizens when they become the victims of crime and in Georgia, although there is some State provision for services for juveniles who commit crimes, for juvenile victims there is almost nothing. So, I wanted to use my fellowship to raise awareness to this issue.”
During 2022 Lado has researched and developed a policy document and roadmap to help steer stakeholders responsible for the protection of rights of child victims in Georgia. As part of the research Lado looked at good practices in other countries and as a benefit of the Fellowship was able to participate in an international conference in Italy on ‘Justice Beyond the Borders’ organized by European Forum for Restorative Justice.
“Participating in the conference was probably the most satisfying and enjoyable part of my fellowship, as like so many others, it was my first chance since the Covid pandemic to actually sit down face-to-face with my peers to learn and share ideas. There was one particular session, led by a legal professional from Brazil, which I found truly inspirational.”
In addition to the policy paper, Lado has successfully led an awareness-raising campaign, using a series of digital posters on social media to highlight the plight of juvenile victims of crime and promote the need to protect their rights. “I expect the future beneficiaries of my fellowship will be the 1000 or so juveniles who are victims of crime in Georgia every year”.
Lado has not only kick-started his civic activism through his Fellowship, but it has also facilitated him to extend his networking, with an additional role as an Observer to the EaP Civil Society Forum in Prague at the end of 2022. “This is a great opportunity and I know that when I look back on my civic advocacy I’ll see that it all started with the Fellowship.”
Lado Javakhishvili is one of the Fellows of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Fellowship programme funded by the European Union. Its main objective is to support civil society activists or civically minded people from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine who demonstrate a deep commitment to leading positive social change in their communities. The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Fellowship programme has been running since 2017 and today the Fellowship alumni has 147 Fellows from across the six countries of the Eastern Partnership. Details about the Fellows and their Fellowship projects can be found here.