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UN Rights Chief Urges Georgia to Abandon ‘Foreign Influence’ Bill Amidst Protests

Thousands of citizens have flooded the streets of Tbilisi for consecutive days, rallying against the proposed Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence. This bill, if enacted, would mandate media outlets and NGOs receiving over 20% of their funding from abroad to register as “organizations acting in the interest of a foreign power.”

Concerns Over Human Rights

In light of recent events, Mr. Türk, the UN rights chief, voiced grave concerns regarding the reported instances of excessive force used against both protestors and members of the media. He emphasized the paramount importance of upholding human rights, particularly the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Call for Investigation and Release

Mr. Türk urged the Georgian authorities to initiate transparent investigations into allegations of mistreatment during protests or in detention. He demanded the immediate release of all individuals detained arbitrarily for exercising their fundamental rights, emphasizing the necessity of dropping any charges against them.

Dialogue and Withdrawal

Emphasizing the significance of dialogue, Mr. Türk called upon the authorities to withdraw the contentious draft law and engage in constructive discussions with civil society and media representatives. He underscored the dangers posed by labeling NGOs and media outlets receiving foreign funding as entities acting in the interest of foreign powers, stressing the detrimental impact on freedom of expression and association.

As tensions continue to escalate, the international community watches closely, urging Georgia to uphold its commitments to human rights and democratic principles.

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