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PACE : Georgia’s foreign influence transparency law should be repealed without delay

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) today expressed its deep concern at recent developments in Georgia that “raise serious doubts" about the country’s commitment to international democratic norms and Euro-Atlantic integration, and about its willingness to honour its membership obligations and accession commitments to the Council of Europe.

The law on transparency of foreign influence, the Assembly said, is “incompatible with European democratic and human rights standards” and should be “repealed in its entirety without delay”. The controversial adoption of such a law is not an isolated event, it added, “but the culmination of a series of developments that clearly indicate a democratic backsliding by the country. This trend needs to be reversed.”

Adopting a resolution based on a report by Claude Kern (France, ALDE) and Edite Estrela (Portugal, SOC), the Assembly expressed deep concern at the excessive and disproportionate use of force by the police and the violent attacks and campaigns of intimidation against demonstrators, civil society activists, journalists, and members of parliament, and called on the authorities to uphold and protect the safety of all protesters.

The adopted text also underscores the Assembly’s concern at the recent adoption – despite recommendations to the contrary by the Venice Commission – of amendments to the legal framework for elections. The recent changes to the Electoral Code “will have a major impact on the perception and trust of the stakeholders in the impartiality and fairness of the election administration”, the parliamentarians said. The resolution also expresses its strong apprehension as regards current draft laws on the “protection of family values and minors”, which are incompatible with international human rights standards.

The Assembly expressed its strong hope for Georgia’s democratic consolidation and further Euro-Atlantic integration. It reiterated its commitment to co-operation and a constructive and open dialogue with the authorities, as well as with all other political forces and sectors of Georgia’s society, “to reverse the recent backsliding and to uphold the honouring of Georgia’s membership obligations and commitments to the Council of Europe”.

 Adopted resolution

 Video of the debate

Parliamentary Assembly session Strasbourg 28 June 2024
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