UN Office in Georgia Condemns Foreign Agents Law, Abolition of Gender Quotas

On April 9, the United Nations in Georgia issued a statement expressing “profound concern” over the re-tabling of the Foreign Agents Law by the ruling Georgian Dream, and “regret” over the abolition of the mandatory gender quotas for the political parties in electoral lists.

“Noting Georgia’s current membership of the UN Human Rights Council,” the UN urges Georgia to withdraw the draft law on foreign agents and calls on the country to conduct “broad, inclusive, and meaningful consultations with a wide range of stakeholders on relations between the state and civil society.”

Recalling its statement when the Russian law was first introduced last year, the UN in Georgia stresses that the law will impede the work of the civil society and media and their essential contributions to Georgian democracy and society.

The UN recognizes the CSO’s contribution to helping the most vulnerable groups and warns that “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.” The United Nations in Georgia also recalls that “the draft law falls short of a number of Georgia’s international obligations.”

As for the abolition of the mandatory gender quotas, the UN in Georgia argues that this “temporary measure” has long been recommended to Georgia “to compensate for women’s systemic exclusion from political decision-making” and its abolition is “a step back for gender equality.”

“We urge the Georgian authorities to take all the necessary steps to avoid actions that run counter to Georgia’s international obligations and that risk having a chilling effect on Georgian democracy,” the UN in Georgia statement concludes.

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