Shalva Papuashvili Responds to Commissioner Mijatović’s Letter

On March 3, the speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Shalva Papuashvili, published a response to the open letter of the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatović dated February 22. In that message, Commissioner Mijatović expressed concern over the draft law “On transparency of foreign influence.”

Speaker Papuashvili reiterates Georgia’s commitment to “the fundamental principles of the Convention and democratic values, which have created a solid foundation for a diverse and strong civil society in our country.”

He then reiterates the argument used by the ruling party domestically. He argues in favor of the draft laws, saying, “one is an exact copy of the United States’ Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and the other is a less restrictive, liberal version of FARA.”

The speaker further assures the Commissioner that parliamentary discussions will be conducted with the intent of finding a version that guarantees the freedom of the Georgian civil society.

He asserts that the citizens of Georgia “have the right to information about the actors that affect their lives” and notes that the regulatory framework for Georgia’s civil sector falls short of the provisions of transparency and accountability that govern, for instance, political parties and government agencies, “including when it comes to foreign funding.”

Speaker Papuashvili then raises security-related issues “such as money laundering, corruption, terrorist financing and other threats dictated by the complex regional security environment,” which may be addressed by the new law.

He concludes by committing to take into account the opinion of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission and pledges cooperation with international and local partners on this issue.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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