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Analytical Document - Repressive Law and Stigmatization of the Civil Society Organizations

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Human Rights Center published an analytical document - Repressive Law and Stigmatization of the Civil Society Organizations. The document reviews the Georgian Law on the Transparency of Foreign Influence, which was approved on May 28, 2024. The Parliamentary Majority of Georgia passed the law regardless the large-scaled protest demonstrations, where thousands of people participated. 

The Law adopted by the Parliament of Georgia is Russian with its context because it uses analogical authoritative instruments to restrict freedom of expression. The law contradicts the Constitution of Georgia, the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 

According to the HRC’s assessment, by adopting the contextually Russian law, the Government of Georgia turned away from the constitutionally guaranteed pro-western path and democratic values. Firstly, it did not envisage the critical decisions of the international courts with regard to similar laws, and secondly neglected detailed clarifications of the Venice Commission as well as statements and recommendations of the international partners to annul the law. 

One of the significant problems related with the law is stigmatization of CSOs by labelling them. Labeling an organization as implementer of foreign interests degrades their reputation and increases mistrust towards them while, in reality, diverse financing guarantees their maximum independence. 

Creation the data base of the organizations pursuing the interests of foreign power contradicts the decision of the ECtHR. Also, in accordance with the urgent opinion of the Venice Commission, the repressive law may already undermine the activities of the organizations by labeling them without any grounds. 

The Law on the Transparency of Foreign Influence envisages various repressive mechanisms. Irrespective the organization gets financing from foreign countries or not, the monitoring process may start and the organization will be obliged to disclose personal information, including sexual life of individuals. Physical persons, organizations, entities and institutions have obligation to disclose similar information, and if they refuse to provide, the law imposes sanctions. 

Human Rights Center believes, the real aim of the law is silencing the critical voice and not transparency. It creates objective risks of silencing and liquidation of CSOs and media. The organizations and media, which are particularly critical towards the government, are under relatively higher risks. 

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The Document was prepared with the financial support of the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The views expressed in the Report are those of HRC and do not necessarily reflect the views of the donor. Therefore, NED is not responsible for the content of the text laid here.  

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