CoE Secretary General Urges Georgia’s Government to Await Venice Commission Opinion on Agents Law

On May 2, Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, issued a statement in which she expressed “regret” that the ruling Georgian Dream party passed the Foreign Agents Bill in a second reading despite international outcry, and urged Georgian MPs to await the Venice Commission’s opinion on the bill and “to consider its recommendations before making any final decisions” as there are “major concerns” about the legislation’s compatibility with the European democratic and human rights standards.

According to the statement, she is “deeply concerned” over the recent developments in Georgian and also condemns the violence on the Tbilisi streets over the past few days. “Disproportionate use of force against demonstrators is incompatible with human rights standards. Georgians, who have demonstrated their profound attachment to democracy on many occasions, should be able to exercise their freedoms of assembly and expression in a peaceful manner,” she noted.

According to her, “an enabling environment for civil society and the media is essential for a vibrant and fully functioning democracy. Transparency should not be used as an instrument to stigmatise civil society organisations and limit their capacity to operate freely.”

The CoE Secretary General expressed the institution’s readiness to assist Georgia “in ensuring compliance with international standards on its paths towards EU integration.”

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