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UN urges Georgia to withdraw controversial bill

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UN rights chief Volker Türk urges Georgia’s government to withdraw the controversial “foreign influence” bill. Photo: Hadi Mizban / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 02.05.2024 19:47:01

Policy: The bill, which was approved in second reading in the National Assembly on Wednesday, requires that all organizations and businesses that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad must register as foreign agents.

– Labeling voluntary organizations and media that receive foreign funding as “organisations that act in the interests of a foreign power” poses a serious threat to freedom of expression and organisation, says Turk.

The EU and the US have also previously expressed concern over the bill, which critics say resembles a law in Russia, where it is used to gag Western-backed media and organizations.

Georgia has been marked by mass anti-government protests since April 9, after the ruling Georgian Dream party introduced plans to pass the bill.

On Wednesday, police used tear gas and stun grenades against protesters in the capital Tbilisi.

Turk says he is concerned about what he calls the disproportionate use of force by the police. He asks that all those arrested in connection with the protests be released immediately.

A third reading of the bill is expected in around two weeks.

(© NTB)

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