20 June 2024,   10:28
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From the very beginning, the law was labelled as “Russian”, in fact, whether somebody likes it or not, other international analogues are much stricter – Papuashvili

From the very beginning, the law was labelled as “Russian”, in fact, whether somebody likes it or not, other international analogues are much stricter, said the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament in his address at the sitting of the PACE Standing Committee.

“What continues frustrating us, is the stigmatization of this Law by internal and external actors as well as their tendency for jumping to quick conclusions. From the very beginning, the law was labelled as “Russian.” “Russian law” is a discrediting political metaphor to stigmatize legislation and cause public outcry. In fact, whether somebody likes it or not, other international analogues are much stricter since their legal provisions are stricter than the Georgian version. Moreover, there is no mention of a “foreign agent” in the Law but the “organization pursuing the interest of a foreign power”. It resembles the European Union’s wording “organization carrying interest representation on behalf of third countries” suggested in European Commission’s proposal for a Directive.

We have studied the practice of the European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights and this law is compatible with international human rights standards; it imposes no restriction on foreign funding or prohibition on accessing foreign funds whatsoever; it does not require prior authorization of financial transactions; it does not envisage funding controls or administrative dissolution; and it does not envisage criminal liability. The law, by no means, restricts NPOs from seeking, receiving and using foreign funding, nor does it restrict their legitimate activities such as human rights and democracy promotion. In Georgia, NPOs are free and will be free after the adoption of this Law. In turn, the law introduces a single, simple and non-burdensome obligation for non-profit organisations to declare annual finances if their foreign funding is more than 20%. Natural persons are not subject to the law. This is the absolute minimal and proportionate interference. There is no other lesser obligation on transparency in any other legal jurisdiction across the globe.

The Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence will raise level of responsibility and accountability of NPOs. These improvements will ameliorate the integrity of the political and electoral system in Georgia and allow more inclusive participation of non-profit organizations in public policy-making”, - said Shalva Papuashvili.

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