ODIHR urges Georgian authorities to revoke foreign agents law

Maria Novoselova / Vestnik Kavkaza

The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) concluded that Georgia’s foreign agents law contained “serious deficiencies” that made it “incompatible” with international human rights standards and the country’s commitments as an OSCE state, calling it to be rescinded.

In a statement the office said the law, which defines civil society and media outlets as “organisations pursuing the interests of a foreign power” if they receive over 20% of their  funding from abroad, was falling short of the “strict requirements laid down in international human rights law”.

The ODIHR’s analysis also highlighted “major differences” between the newly passed law and legislation in other countries that had been cited by the Georgian authorities in connection with the domestic legislative piece.

The body urged the Georgian authorities to revoke the law and take steps to bring its legislation in line with international standards.

“Examples of less intrusive alternatives could include the regulation of lobbying activities, robust political party and election campaign financing rules, and anti-corruption or anti-terrorism laws that promote more open, transparent and accountable public decision-making processes”, the statement reads.

This week, the Georgian Parliament overrode the veto placed by Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili on the law on the backdrop of ongoing public protests.

© Photo :Maria Novoselova / Vestnik Kavkaza