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United Nations in Georgia Expresses Concern over Draft Law on Foreign Agents

“If adopted, such a law [on Transparency of Foreign Influence] is likely to impede the work of the UN to implement the Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, the country strategy that we have co-signed with the Government of Georgia,” the United Nations in Georgia said in a statement issued on February 26.

It expressed “profound concern”over the draft Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence registered by the parliamentary majority, noting that its adoption “would risk impeding the work of civil society and media and the essential contributions they make to Georgian democracy.”

“The draft law poses risks to the full respect of freedoms of association and expression, the right to participate in public affairs, the right to privacy and the prohibition of discrimination,” the statement noted.

“The UN has been a trusted partner of Georgia for over three decades, supporting the country’s development in line with Georgia’s own national priorities and assisting the people of Georgia together with all our local partners, including civil society and media,” it said.

The United Nations in Georgia also noted that civil society organizations in Georgia have been at the forefront of delivering essential services to the most vulnerable and helping protect their human rights. Thus, “stigmatizing their work risks leaving persons with disabilities, internally displaced, minorities, older persons, women, youth and children, survivors of domestic violence and other people in need without effective assistance and support.”

“Noting Georgia’s current membership of the UN Human Rights Council, we encourage the Parliament of Georgia to seek the legal opinions of competent regional and international bodies, to consider opinions of these bodies on similar legislation, and to conduct broad, inclusive and meaningful consultations with a wide range of stakeholders that could potentially be affected by the adoption of this draft law,” it said. 

The United Nations in Georgia urged the Georgian authorities “to take all the necessary steps to avoid measures that risk having a chilling effect on Georgian democracy and on the vibrancy and quality of development support to Georgia.”

The UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for 2021-2025 guides the work of the Government of Georgia and the UN system till 2025. It was adopted at the end of 2020 in close collaboration between the UN- the long-standing partner of Georgia, the Georgian Government and a wide range of partners including development partners/donors, international financial institutions, civil society and academia.

Among strategic priorities that are supported through this initiative are: no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, decent work and economic growth, peace, justice and strong institutions and others.

The Cooperation Framework is essentially UN’s strategic plan of action for the next five years, taking into account the development challenges and is aligned with the national development priorities, including Georgia’s EU integration aspiration and the country’s international commitments.

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