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US asks Georgia lawmakers to repeal foreign agents bill

The controversial measure causes brawls in Parliament.

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US asks Georgia lawmakers to repeal foreign agents bill

The controversial measure causes brawls in Parliament


The United States ambassador to Georgia, Kelly Degnan, has asked Georgian deputies on Monday to revoke a bill on the declaration of "foreign agents" in the face of opposition protests and a series of brawls registered in Parliament.

The bill seeks to create a list of NGOs, media and entities that generally receive funding from foreign countries. According to Degnan, the measure "seriously worries" the United States, the EU and the Council of Europe, and has warned that it could "stigmatize civil society" in the country.

However, some deputies have defended that this initiative is a "softened" version of current legislation in the United States, while the opposition defends that it is more similar to Russian law.

"We have not given up. We urgently ask the government not to proceed with this, (...) that it will silence the independent media and dissenting voices, similar to what has happened in Russia and other countries like it," he said. asserted the ambassador, who urged to reconsider the legislation.

In addition, he has stressed that the measure "is not necessary" and has warned of the possible "devastating effect for groups and organizations that work to help Georgians most in need."

Lawmakers from the ruling Georgian Dream party, who have a majority in Parliament, have said they plan to support the passing of this law, but opposition lawmakers reaffirm that the measure "distances the country from the European Union."

For their part, several US senators have expressed their concern about the bill, which they consider "inspired by Russian legislation on the declaration of foreign agents" and have warned that it could lead to a "suppression of civil society and the media independent".

Democratic Party Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Dick Durbin have criticized the law, saying it "doesn't look like the US Foreign Agents Registration Act but rather the Russian version."

Durbin has urged the Georgian authorities to address the matter and pave their way towards their accession to the EU and NATO and has warned that this measure would be a "step backwards in a country that aspires to freedom".