International Reactions to Intimidation, Violence Campaign Against Civil Activists, Opposition Politicians over Foreign Agents Law

In light of the recent increase in attacks on civil activists and opposition politicians, as well as an orchestrated campaign of terror against opponents of the foreign agents law, diplomatic missions in Georgia urge the government to take preventive measures and thoroughly investigate these incidents. In addition, several international

On May 10, the British Embassy in Georgia called on the government to take “immediate steps” to prevent unlawful intimidation of protesters and to investigate all rights abuses. “Practices such as threatening phone calls, unlawful detention, beatings and personalized posters portraying civil society members as traitors have no place in a democratic society,” the British Embassy said in its statement, adding that “the UK will continue to stand with Georgia to support its democracy and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.”

Also today, May 10, the German Ambassador to Georgia, Peter Fischer, stressed that “The rule of law must prevail.” Democracy requires non-violence,” the Ambassador posted on his social media, tagging the Public Defender of Georgia and the country’s Foreign Ministry. According to Ambassador Fischer, there have been cases of intimidation of the staff of German organizations operating in Georgia. He wrote: “Violence and intimidation – including against staff of German organisations in Georgia- are not acceptable.”

Another statement was issued by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Georgia on the same day. Stressing that “intimidation, threats and physical attacks against civil society representatives, politicians, and journalists are unacceptable,” the Dutch Embassy called on the authorities to “ensure that the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected and that all acts of violence and intimidation are properly investigated.”

Other International Reactions:

Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders (May 10): “Receiving very disturbing reports of escalating violence and harassment against opponents of the Foreign Agent Bill in Georgia, including HRDs. Threats and intimidation of HRDs must stop immediately and the bill should be withdrawn.”

Jim O’Brien, U.S. Assistant Secretary (May 11): “We are deeply troubled by the violence and intimidation of those opposing the Georgian draft Kremlin-inspired foreign influence law. We condemn this. A country intent on moving toward the EU and transatlantic organizations would conduct full, independent, and timely investigations.”

U.S. Helsinki Commission (May 10): “Credible reports of widespread intimidation, harassment, and violence against activists, civil society, and opposition in Georgia is unacceptable. The concerted nature of this repressive turn suggests involvement by state security services and demands universal condemnation.”

Jim Risch, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member (May 10): “I’m concerned to hear journalists, opposition politicians, and civil society leaders have been targeted with threats of violence for their opposition to Georgia’s proposed foreign agents law. In an open democracy, all voices must be allowed to speak. This intimidation must stop.”

Michael Roth, Chair of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee (May 10): “We remain committed to a constructive conversation with Georgian Government and Parliamentarians. But stop the violations and threats, withdraw the “foreign agent law”, de-escalate and start a peaceful dialogue with civil society! To all my Georgian friends: no worries, we will meet. Soon.”

This news may be updated…

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