Volker Türk: Georgia’s ‘foreign influence’ law undermines freedom of expression

Фолькер Тюрк: закон об «иностранном влиянии» в Грузии подрывает свободу выражения мнений

Volker Türk in Geneva. Volker Türk: Georgia’s ‘foreign influence’ law undermines freedom of expression Human rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on Thursday said that the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence adopted by the Georgian Parliament undermines freedom of expression and association.

“Authorities and legislators chose to ignore numerous warnings from human rights activists and civil society organizations,” Turk said. 

The law passed on May 14 announces civil society and media organizations that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from foreign sources are “organizations acting for the benefit of a foreign power” and requires them to register as such.

“The ability of associations to find and utilize resources is essential to their effective operation,” Turk said. According to him, because of the new law, organizations may face stigma and will be forced to work in an atmosphere of “mistrust, fear and hostility.”

“The registration requirement may also have a chilling effect on them, significantly limiting their activities. Suppressing diverse views on issues of serious public interest will only complicate the government’s ability to effectively respond to the many challenges facing the country through sound legislative and policy measures,” added the UN’s chief human rights defender. 

The bill provoked protests of thousands in Georgia. Volker Türk called on Georgian authorities to show restraint towards demonstrators and protect their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

“Authorities need to promptly investigate allegations of violence and ill-treatment in the context of protests, including reports of attacks on protesters and their families,” Turk said. .

“I encourage the Georgian authorities to build on recent landmark human rights achievements and work with the country’s vibrant civil society to address current challenges through an inclusive and human rights-oriented process.” , – summed up the High Commissioner.

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Volker Türk called on the Georgian authorities to show restraint towards demonstrators


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