Democracy ALERT: Georgian Government Reintroduces Law on Foreign Agents

April 4, 2024

Update: On May 14, the ruling majority passed the controversial “law on foreign agents” with 84 votes in favor and 30 votes against, despite strong opposition from international partners, opposition members of parliament, and ongoing public protests near the Parliament building. The World Movement for Democracy is gravely concerned about this development. Large peaceful protests over the weekend affirm the Georgian people’s desire for democracy and their disapproval of this law. We stand with the people of Georgia. 

On April 3, 2024, the Georgian ruling party Georgian Dream announced the reintroduction of the draft law on foreign agents in the Parliament, which was withdrawn last year after mass demonstrations against it spread across the country. This development follows a broader political trend that aims at closing civic space and repressing political dissent through restrictive laws and changes in the electoral code. The removal of gender quotas in party lists of candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections was also recently passed in the Parliament.

The proposed law on foreign agents would make all non-governmental organizations and independent media outlets in Georgia that receive more than 20% of their total funding from abroad register as “operatives of a foreign government”. The draft law would also authorize the Ministry of Justice to investigate and monitor organizations they deem to be agents of foreign influence. Georgian Independent Media Outlets condemn the reintroduction of the draft foreign agents law stating that the introduced law will “destroy independent society and media, silence critical voices and drive Georgia out of the European family.”

This development comes shortly after the Kyrgyz Republic’s President signed a similar law introducing restrictive regulations on non-governmental organizations that receive foreign funding and carry out broadly defined “political activities.” In recent years, restrictions on civil society funding have been widespread globally despite they violate international human rights laws.

The World Movement strongly condemns the reintroduction of the draft foreign agents law in Georgia and stands in solidarity with the Georgian people, who flatly rejected this law last year. The World Movement also stands with Georgian independent media and civil society which play a critical role in Georgia’s political processes and its democratic development.