The Daily Beat: 1 March
EU Ambassador Pawel Herczynski and all the other ambassadors from EU countries represented in Tbilisi held a demarche meeting with speaker Shalva Papuashvili over foreign agents’ law. The EU Ambassador said it was not an easy conversation and called it a “frank and open exchange of views” – a diplomatic shorthand for a profound disagreement. Ambassadors repeated that the bill contradicts to norms and values of the EU as well as two out of twelve EU conditions necessary for the EU candidacy. The ambassadors and Speaker agreed to continue talking Amb. Herczynski told journalists. Speaker Papuashvili appeared nonplussed, saying the ambassadors “agreed” with the need for more transparency in CSO funding. He shot back at civil society for refusing to discuss the legal details.
Former students addressed an open letter to the parliamentary foreign affairs committee chair Nikoloz Samkharadze, formerly their lecturer on European affairs at Tbilisi State University, asking him to show integrity and oppose the draft law on foreign agents. The draft law contradicts the constitution and national interest, undermines the country’s Euro-Atlantic future, and is contrary to what you’ve been teaching us, Samkharadze’s former students argue.
UK Ambassador Mark Clayton joined mounting international criticism over the draft law on foreign agents. Speaking at the event marking the adoption of the national action plan on women, peace, and security, Amb. Clayton said If the proposed law were in place now, CSOs and women activists supported by the UK in helping achieve these objectives would be stigmatized as “foreign agents.” “That cannot be right,” the British ambassador tweeted.
In the meantime, US Ambassador Kelly Degnan tightened diplomatic pressure on Georgian MPs, saying those who will vote in favor of the proposed draft will be “directly responsible for putting the country’s Euro-Atlantic future at risk.”
Usually profit-oriented and politically docile business and commerce associations grouped around the US, wider European, and German circles addressed a rare open letter to the speaker Shalva Papuashvili, warning him of the adverse effects the foreign agents’ law would have on foreign support programs, EU membership prospects, and the investment environment.
The five-year-old injured kid from the occupied Tskhinvali has been transferred to Tbilisi hospital for further medical treatment, the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed. On February 28, a young man was shot dead in his car in occupied Tskhinvali. Local “Res” news agency reported that his 5-year-old son was also severely wounded and taken to the Tskhinvali hospital for life-saving surgery. Following the shooting incident, the de facto authorities in Tskhinvali tightened security measures across the so-called borders.
Holders of status-neural ID cards living in the occupied territories of Georgia have rights equal to Georgian citizens in terms of enjoying state benefits, the Tbilisi Court of Appeals ruled in a precedent-setting decision. In 2021, a person with disabilities living in Abkhazia was denied a disability pension due to the absence of Georgian citizenship. The Center for Social Justice, a CSO, appealed the decision, arguing that the right of a person to provide minimum living conditions is a positive obligation of the state.