We stand with Georgia’s fight for democracy and human rights 

This morning, the controversial law on “Transparency of Foreign Influence” is expected to be adopted by the Georgian parliament, despite weeks of massive protests against it. This is deeply concerning – the law undermines democracy and human rights in the country and is a threat to Georgia’s vibrant civil society and the important work that they do. The law also hinders the process of Georgia’s transatlantic integration. 

The new law requires all non-governmental organisations and media outlets that receive more than twenty per cent of their funding from abroad to register as ‘agents of foreign influence’ in a separate registry. The law also authorises the Ministry of Justice to investigate and monitor organisations they deem to be agents of foreign influence. This might also include requesting access to personal data. The 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. 

Georgian civil society and independent media have a crucial role for the future of Georgia, its democratic development, and the upholding of human rights. In addition, many Georgian non-governmental organisations provide important services, such as shelters for survivors of gender-based violence or treatment for substance users. By implementing this law, the Georgian authorities are not just threatening the important work for democracy and human rights, but also making it difficult for organisations to offer vital services to many Georgians. 

The past weeks’ peaceful protests have been massive and have continued despite an escalating campaign of violence and harassment against opponents of the law. We urge the Georgian authorities to ensure that fundamental rights of all citizens are protected and that those acts are investigated. 

We are deeply concerned about this law and stand with the Georgian people in their fight for a free and democratic Georgia. The support for the vibrant civil society sector in Georgia is now more important than ever.  

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