Joint Letter on the Adoption of the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence in Georgia

Despite strong opposition from a substantial part of Georgian society tangibly evidenced in continuous large scale protests, the Georgian Parliament adopted the controversial Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence which threatens the functioning of civil society, independent media and individual activists in the country.

This legislation echoes concerning trends in authoritarian countries, including the foreign agents law in Russia, used to silence critical voices, weaken civil society and stifle dissent.

We, the undersigned human rights and democracy support organisations, express deep concern over the adoption of the repressive legislation which threatens Georgia’s democracy. Since the regaining of Georgia’s independence, international organisations, foreign experts, and democracy support donors have worked together with the government, civil society, and the Georgian people in support of Georgian democracy.

We stand in solidarity with the Georgian public and civil society peacefully protesting the repressive legislation and urge the international community to support the Georgian people’s struggle for democracy. We therefore urge:

  • the Government of Georgia to unconditionally revoke the repressive bill and resume its work towards the democratic reform agenda detailed in the nine steps of the EU Commission in the context of opening negotiations.
  • The EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Human Rights, Olof Skoog, to organise a visit to Georgia amid the violent crackdown by riot police and security forces on peaceful protesters and civic activists and urge Georgian authorities to uphold their international human rights commitments, including those discussed at EU-Georgia Human Rights Dialogue.
  • the European Commission, European Council, European Parliament and EU member states to consider foreign policy instruments at its disposal – primarily negative conditionality measures – including the Human Rights Sanction Regime to put political pressure on Georgian authorities.
  • the European Commission to step up its support to Georgian civil society by mobilising NDICI cushion funds and rapid reaction funds to enable a rapid and comprehensive response to countering closing civic space, including by supporting human rights defenders, the transparency of campaign financing, independent media actors and citizen election observers.
  • the European Parliament’s Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) to start consultations with the international election observation mission led by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to ensure support and add political clout to the observation of elections in the country.
  1. Article 19
  2. Association for Democracy Assistance and Human Rights
  3. Brot für die Welt
  4. Club de Madrid
  5. Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy
  6. Democracy Reporting International
  7. Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum
  8. Elbarlement
  9. European Partnership for Democracy
  10. Free Press Unlimited
  11. Human Rights Without Frontiers
  12. ILGA-Europe
  13. International Federation for Human Rights – FIDH
  14. International Partnership for Human Rights
  15. International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN)
  16. International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims
  17. Netherlands Helsinki Committee
  18. Political Parties of Finland for Democracy – Demo Finland
  19. Protection International
  20. The Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy
  21. Westminster Foundation for Democracy

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Photo by Sheldon Kennedy on Unsplash