CoE Secretary General on Final Adoption of Agents Law: Free and Fair Election Environment Could Be Jeopardized

Following the Presidential veto override and subsequent final passage of the foreign agents law, Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić issued a statement, “strongly deploring” the decision of the Georgian Parliament to finally adopt the law “despite criticism by international partners as to its incompatibility with European standards,” noting the negative impact the law will have on democracy in Georgia, including the environment for free and fair elections.

The CoE Secretary General regrets that with this decision the Georgian authorities gave up “an ultimate occasion” to withdraw the law and have refused to engage in meaningful dialogue. She also noted that with this decision, the Georgian authorities have disregarded the opinion of the Venice Commission, which recommended the repeal of the law.

Secretary General Burić expresses “deep concern” about the law’s “adverse impact on informed public debate, pluralism, and democratic checks and balances,” adding that it “could potentially jeopardize also the environment for free and fair elections.”

In addition, the CoE Secretary General says that she remains worried about the “apparent impunity” for reported cases of intimidation, disproportional use of force and stigmatisizing narratives against the CSOs, activists and peaceful protestors. “These acts must be investigated without delay and those responsible for rights abuses should be held accountable, in view of discouraging such practices that have no place in a democratic society,” the statement stresses.

“The Council of Europe remains fully supportive of the Georgian people’s European aspirations,” the statement concludes.

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


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