Statement of ICON•S Georgia about the Initiated Bills in the Parliament of Georgia, which Hinder Georgia’s EU Integration Course
On behalf of ICON•S Georgia, the national representation of the International Society of Pubic Law, we declare our strongly negative position towards draft laws about “Transparency of Foreign Influence” and “Registration of Foreign Agents”. We urge the Members of the Parliament not to endorse them.
Taking into consideration the foreign experience and Georgian context, both initiatives and adoption of any of them endangers integration of our country to the European Union. There’s no necessity of passing these bills, as the transparency of the international donor organizational funding is already entirely ensured by existing legislative framework.
Civil society organizations and critical media outlets contribute immensely to strengthening the protection of human rights, democracy, rule of law and a social state. Their functioning is mostly dependent on international support.
Using the term “agent of foreign influence” to describe non-governmental organizations as well as critical media outlets would stigmatize them and the term could be give different interpretations. In addition, the restrictions prescribed by the draft law don’t serve any legitimate aim, nor the requirements of just and transparent law. These bills don’t represent neither the experience of the European countries, nor the American law and its practice. The draft laws, based on their aims and clauses, replicate the ones of the laws, which are in force in Russia, which in turn are aimed at controlling non-governmental organizations and independent media outlets, as well as restricting their activities.
European Court of Human Rights, as well as the European Court of Justice have expressed their negative position towards similar legislation due to their incongruence with human rights and fundamental principles of European Union. These precedents have to be taken into account by Georgian authorities. In particular, in 2022, the European Court of Human Rights established the violation of human rights in Russia for using the same law, whereas in 2020, the European Court of Justice in the case against Hungary found that similar legislation violated European law.
Moreover, turning the bill into the law would be a clear declaration to our international strategic partners, that they’re the ones, Georgia considers, to have hostile attitude towards Georgian society, whereas they’re the ones who relentlessly work in terms of protection of Georgia’s territorial integrity, supporting the non-recognition policy and enhancing economic prosperity and security.
All strategic partners, including countries and organizations, have stated their strongly negative position towards the initiative, which must be alarming for the country, whose constitution in the article of 78 states “The constitutional bodies shall take all measures within the scope of their competences to ensure the full integration of Georgia into the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.“.
It’s worth to highlight that the mere hearings of these bills in the Parliament of Georgia, which defines the main directions of the country’s domestic and foreign policies, damages the declared democratic values of our State. This will blow our opportunity to become the member of the EU.
Therefore, the national representation of International Society of Pubic Law – ICON•S Georgia calls on the Parliament of Georgia to act according the Constitution, closely cooperate with international partners and also calls on the constitutional bodies to make sure that all their actions serve the purpose of the People of Georgia, which unequivocally is the integration in the European Union.