politics

Georgia’s ruling party brings back disputed Russia-style ‘foreign agent’ law – POLITICO

According to analysis conducted by Human Rights Watch when the law was first proposed, the bill would “impose additional requirements for reporting, inspections, and administrative and criminal accountability, including up to five years in prison for violations.

Russia has used similar measures to oust civil society groups critical of the government. The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, previously said the Georgian version of the law would be “incompatible with EU values ​​and norms” and “goes against the stated aim of the Georgia to join the EU.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Georgia for two days in March 2023 in protests against legislation that requires police to use tear gas and riot gear against protesters. The government was forced to abandon the bill “unconditionally”, while hinting it could bring it back at a later date.

Eka Gigauri, executive director of anti-corruption NGO Transparency International Georgia, who herself is likely to be labeled a foreign agent, accused Georgian Dream of following “the Russian playbook”.

“We’re not going to stigmatize ourselves and put up this sign saying ‘we’re spies’ because we see ourselves as patriots doing everything we can to make this country better,” she told POLITICO.

Last week, the Georgian government announced it would introduce a bill to criminalize the promotion of same-sex relationships, similar to Russia’s strict rules on “LGBTQ+ propaganda.” This bill was presented despite Brussels’ warning to the potential EU member country, which was granted candidate status in December 2023, to strengthen the protection of human rights.

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