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Government of Georgia Urged to Follow Open Government Recommendations to Address Legislation Restricting Civil Society

Washington, D.C. – The Criteria & Standards Subcommittee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) has published recommendations to address concerns raised by Georgian civil society, including the introduction of the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence and the broader erosion of democracy, closing of civic space, and violations of fundamental rights and freedoms. These recommendations come in response to the Review Report adopted by the Subcommittee on 16 February 2024, which underscored the relevance of the concerns to the values and principles of OGP. 

Lucy McTernan, Civil Society Co-Chair of the OGP´s Criteria and Standards Subcommittee, specifically highlighted the significance of addressing the issues surrounding the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence. “This legislation will negatively impact civil society groups and their operational freedom. I join my fellow Subcommittee colleagues in condemning the advancement of this legislation, and urge Georgia to refrain from passing laws that contradict the desires of the vast majority of citizens,” said McTernan. “The reported attacks on journalists and media independence are equally concerning, and run contrary to the Open Government Declaration. I stand with civil society activists and journalists in Georgia during these challenging times.”

In line with OGP’s Response Policy, the C&S Subcommittee urges the Government of Georgia to collaborate on a comprehensive work plan within the next thirty days to tackle the identified challenges head-on.

This work plan should include clear milestones, and a timeline for implementation over the next six months, to address the issues raised: This could include:

  1. Withdrawal of Discriminatory Legislation: Immediate review and withdrawal of any legislation impeding the freedom of expression and association of civil society organizations, media representatives, and vulnerable groups, such as the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence.
  2. Protection of Association and Press Freedom: Ensuring an environment where civil society organizations and journalists can work without fear of intimidation or violence, especially during election periods.
  3. Enhanced Access to Information: Strengthening existing frameworks to ensure unfettered access to public information and reviewing the overall legal framework to align with international standards.

The Government of Georgia is also urged to consider pertinent recommendations from third parties, such as those issued by the European Commission within the framework of Georgia’s EU accession process. 

Failure to develop and implement the recommended work plan could lead to Georgia to be suspended from OGP until the concerns are resolved. Continued disregard of the values and principles of OGP could also end in the cessation of membership in the Partnership.

Georgia has been a member of OGP since its outset in 2011 and has since co-created five action plans with civil society organizations, including its current 2023-2025 action plan. All materials related to the response policy case are available here.  

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About Open Government Partnership

OGP brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable. Founded in 2011, OGP provides an international platform for countries to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

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