CSOs: Ruling Party Campaign Against Civil Society at ‘Alarming Level,’

Civil society organizations released a joint statement on 25 August which emphasized that the “aggressive campaign of the Georgian Dream [party] against local non-governmental organizations has reached an alarming level.”

The CSOs added that the ruling party’s continued attacks against civil society “aims to cut off public control over the Government’s activities, which is another clear manifestation of authoritarianism and indicates the irreversible course of its formation.”

They denoted that Georgian Dream attacked the civil society sector after several organizations decided to stop participating in the ruling party’s working groups dealing with the European Commission’s 12 recommendations for EU candidate status as a result of its decision to exclude the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED).

The statement reiterated that attacks by ruling party chairperson Irakli Kobakhidze on the integrity of civil society organizations, as well as the creation of a “blacklist” of organizations deemed unacceptable to the government, “is nothing more than an attempt by the Georgian Dream to neutralize public control over Government activities [and] to facilitate activities according to their own agenda.”

The organizations noted that it is significant that the ruling party attacks organizations that actively monitor and criticize the government for its lack of action toward taking tangible steps for European integration.

“We believe that Georgian Dream is aware of the outcome, however, with such rhetoric and steps, it is deliberately trying to break all the levers that Georgia needs for its democracy,” the CSOs expressed.

“Such decisions and statements are the cause of what makes the future of democratic development in Georgia vaguer by the day, both in the eyes of the national and international community, which is fully the responsibility of the Georgian Dream,” the statement concluded.

The joint statement was signed by 18 civil society organizations including the Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI), Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF), Transparency International – Georgia (TI), and Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS), among others.

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