Georgian government wants to bring back criticised law 

Protesters with a sign saying “Women against total control”.

The ruling Georgian Dream party has announced that they again want to try and pass a controversial law that aims to limit foreign influence. A similar law was proposed in 2023 but was dropped after massive protests broke out in the country. Civil Rights Defenders expresses its deep concern about the bill that, if approved, will undermine democracy and civil society in the country.  

The law that was proposed this year uses the term ‘organisation pursuing the interests of a foreign power’ instead of ‘agent of foreign influence. All other sections of the draft law remain unchanged. The proposed law would make all non-governmental organisations and media outlets that receive more than twenty percent of their funding from abroad register as ‘organisations pursuing the interests of a foreign power’ in a separate registry. The draft law would also authorise the Ministry of Justice to investigate and monitor these organisations. This might also include requesting access to personal data. The proposed law risks increasing the government’s control over media and civil society and can be used as a tool to crack down on dissent in the country. 

At the same time, there are two other laws initiated at the parliament. A draft Constitutional Law on “Family Values and Protection of Minors” and the “Annulment of the Mandatory Gender Quotas”. The first law would ban any gathering, product, or educational programme which ‘popularises’ same-sex marriage and adoption, and gender transitioning, among others. The second law amends the electoral code and drops a rule that says that every fourth person on a party’s list must be of the opposite gender to the previous three. 

The new laws and amendments pose a threat to Georgia’s transatlantic integration and its future in the European Union. Furthermore, it is an attack on women’s rights and the LGBTI+ community in the country.

Georgian civil society and independent media have a crucial role for the future of Georgia, its democratic development, and the upholding of human rights. We urge the members of parliament to not adopt the proposed legislation and encourage them to implement reforms in line with the stated objective of joining the EU, as supported by a large majority of Georgia’s citizens. The political leaders must uphold Georgia’s commitment to the promotion of democracy, rule of law, and human rights. 

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