Georgian NGOs vow to defy ‘unconstitutional’ overseas affect legislation | EUROtoday

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Around 200 Georgian NGOs on Wednesday vowed to defy a “foreign influence” legislation that has prompted deep divisions within the Caucasus nation, triggering mass protests and worldwide condemnation.

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The legislation, which critics have in comparison with repressive Russian laws used to silence dissent, forces NGOs and media receiving at the least a fifth of their funding from overseas to register as “organisations pursuing the interests of a foreign power”.

The ruling Georgian Dream occasion pushed it via parliament in a remaining vote on Tuesday, overriding a veto lodged by pro-EU President Salome Zurabishvili.

“By adopting this law, the authorities want to subdue Georgia’s civil sector,” the roughly 200 NGOs stated in an announcement.

“The Russian law will not work in our country and will remain an empty piece of paper, which nobody will obey,” it added.

Opposition events and rights teams worry that Georgian Dream will use the measures to tighten controls over election screens and journalists to safe one other victory in a coming vote.

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“We, Georgia’s civil organisations, promise to defend the elections and the votes of every single citizen,” the NGOs stated.

Rights teams together with the Georgian department of anti-corruption group Transparency International have advised AFP the legislation might see their property frozen and their work restricted.

The chairwoman of the Tbilisi-based GYLA rights advocacy group, Nona Kurdovanidze, stated the “law is unconstitutional and stigmatises NGOs”.

“It is also unacceptable to obey a law, which — as Brussels has said – goes contrary to Georgia’s European path,” she advised AFP.

Brussels has warned the measure is “incompatible” with the ex-Soviet republic’s longstanding bid for EU membership.

Georgia’s want to affix the bloc is enshrined in its structure and supported by greater than 80 p.c of the inhabitants, in keeping with opinion polls.

“That’s why up to 200 NGOs declared that they will not be complying with the law’s requirements,” Kurdovanidze stated.


“Georgian Dream is creating a governance system devoid of critical media or civil groups capable of raising their voices against democratic backsliding in general and electoral violations in particular,” stated Eka Gigauri, govt director of Transparency International-Georgia.

Amnesty International added Wednesday: “This malevolent piece of legislation must be scrapped immediately as it directly violates the right to freedom of association.”

It additionally known as for the federal government to finish a “campaign of intimidation and violence against Georgian civil society and against those who oppose this law through protest and other peaceful means.”

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As the legislation labored its approach via parliament, dozens of prime NGO employees had been focused with cellphone calls and had their faces plastered on insulting posters.

Several opposition figures have reported being bodily attacked by unidentified assailants, who they stated had been linked to the ruling occasion.

Georgian Dream, in energy since 2012, faces mounting accusations of derailing Georgia from its Western trajectory and main the nation again into Russia’s orbit.

The occasion says it’s dedicated to Georgia’s European aspirations and defends the legislation as aimed toward rising the transparency of NGO funding.

It argues that Western-funded teams undermine Georgia’s sovereignty.

The Black Sea nation has been gripped by a wave of unprecedented every day rallies for the previous seven weeks because the occasion re-introduced the laws in April, a yr after dropping comparable measures after a public outcry.