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Watchdogs Stop Cooperating with Majority on Open Government

On March 10, key Georgian CSOs said they “no longer see the possibility of continuing the format of cooperation with the parliamentary majority” and suspended their membership in the Consultative Group of the Standing Council of Open Government.

The Council was created to foster increased government openness and transparency. Key watchdogs Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), Transparency International-Georgia, Civil Society Institute (CSI), and Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) were members of the Consultative Group.

In a joint statement issued on March 10, CSOs said that the civil sector worked actively with the parliament on transparency, citizens’ engagement in the legislative process, trying to foster inclusivity and innovation. As one concrete result of this partnership, the Parliament of Georgia was awarded the OGP Civil Society award at the OGP Global Summit, held in Mexico in October 2015. After this recognition, Georgia hosted OGP Summit in 2018.

The CSOs say despite the direct cooperation and support, including financial, that CSOs gave to the parliamentary majority in implementing the reforms, that same majority introduced the law on “foreign influence” aiming at stigmatizing and discrediting CSOs, at controlling them and ultimately limiting civic space.

The statement reads: “Although the ruling party withdrew the draft law in response to several days of public protests against it, it clearly confirmed that it remained faithful to the principles of the Russian draft law and that it would conduct a more active public information campaign in support of the law in the future. Based on all of the above, the organizations – members of the Advisory Group of the Permanent Council of Open Governance no longer see the prospect for cooperation with the parliamentary majority in this format, and we suspend membership in the Consultative Group.”

OGP secretariate has recently declared Georgia non-compliant with the OGP process, as it failed to deliver an action plan in the 2021-2023 and 2022-2024 cycles. As a result, Georgia has been placed under scrutiny by the OGP Criteria & Standards Subcommittee, with the aim to remedy the concerns.

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


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