The co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Georgia by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Claude Kern (France, ALDE) and Edite Estrela (Portugal, SOC), have expressed their deep concern at the adoption at first reading by the Georgian Parliament of the controversial law on Transparency of Foreign Influence.
“As we already have stated, the draft law in its current form raises serious concerns regarding its compatibility with European democratic and human rights standards and norms. Its hasty adoption yesterday, without dialogue or proper consultation with all relevant stakeholders, has only further increased the deep divisions and polarisation in Georgian society and, as such, undermines Georgia’s democratic consolidation and European integration,” they said.
The co-rapporteurs emphasised that the draft law should not be adopted without a proper evaluation by the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s group of legal experts, adding that any of the Commission’s concerns and recommendations should be fully addressed, both in letter and in spirit, by the Georgian Parliament. “Even with such an opinion from the Venice Commission, it is not clear to us how this would be sufficient to resolve the deep divisions in Georgian society and the damage to the country’s democratic institutions that this draft law has created. We therefore strongly suggest that the parliament considers removing this draft law from its agenda altogether,” they added.
The rapporteurs called on the Georgian authorities to fully respect the right to peaceful protest and at the same time urged demonstrators and protest organisers to ensure that their protests remain within the confines of the law.
The co-rapporteurs intend visit Tbilisi from 27 to 29 March 2023.