Abkhazia preparing to adopt a law on foreign agents
Law on foreign agents in Abkhazia
Abkhazia is tightening its policy on international organizations accredited on its territory, and is preparing to adopt a law on NGOs and foreign agents, possibly with the aim of curtailing their activities altogether.
The formal reason for this move was the decision of the European Union on the non-recognition of Russian passports issued in Abkhazia.
The decision may affect the activities of NGOs and other international organizations in Abkhazia and receiving funding from the EU, Abkhaz Foreign Minister Inal Ardzinba said.
According to Ardzinba, humanitarian projects and programs are ultimately aimed at influencing the internal policy of Abkhazia, the consciousness of citizens and are an attempt to change the country’s foreign policy vector.
“On the one hand, they carry out supposedly humanitarian projects on our territory, and on the other hand they do not recognize passports issued on the territory of the Republic of Abkhazia. This, of course, is a policy of double standards, which should be paid attention to,” the minister said.
The deputy chief of staff of the government of Abkhazia, Christian Bzhaniya, in an interview with the Echo of the Caucasus radio, considered the possibility that international organizations accredited in Abkhazia would have to be “asked” to leave the republic.
The leaders of public organizations in Abkhazia are very concerned about the emerging attitude towards NGOs. This week hearings will be held in the Public Chamber, where in addition to NGO representatives themselves, Minister of Justice Anri Barzitz is also invited.
Member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Humanitarian Programs Liana Kvarchelia
“The country’s leadership is making a mistake with this law on foreign agents and international organizations.
After all, the presence of international structures here works against the Georgian notion of the occupation of our republic by Russia. Do the authorities want to help Tbilisi in promoting this image of Abkhazia?
The leadership of Abkhazia has recently been saying there is a threat that Georgia will unleash a new war against Abkhazia.
If God forbid there is a war, the presence of NGOs in Abkhazia will give the world community the opportunity to know who the aggressor is after all.
An example is a report by Heidi Tagliavini, who headed the International Independent Commission to establish the facts of the war in South Ossetia in 2008.
This report was based on the testimonies of OSCE representatives who were in the conflict zone at the time, and the leadership of Georgia didn’t like its conclusions.
As for the European Union’s non-recognition of passports, Brussels is not punishing Russia but the Abkhazians, who are being deprived of their elementary right to freedom of movement.
We need to raise the issue of recognizing Abkhazian passports at least as travel documents before the international community.
However, it is possible that passports have nothing to do with it at all, and the government of Abkhazia simply used this decision as an excuse to “tighten the screws”. After all, the Abkhazian parliament has been developing a draft law regulating the activities of international and local non-governmental organizations for about three years, similar to the Russian law on foreign agents.
Fuel is added to the fire by various anonymous Telegram channels that paint the image of international organizations in frankly negative colors, and local NGOs are called almost a “fifth column”.
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Editor-in-chief of the YouTube channel “Apsnyhabar” Leuan Lagulaa
“The law on foreign agents being developed by the parliament is not an ‘intra-Abkhaz agenda’. That is, it is imposed from the outside.
In a time of global tension and military conflicts in the immediate vicinity of Abkhazia, we are interested in increasing the presence of international NGOs on our territory, since Abkhazia has practically no international platforms from which we could convey our position to the international community.
Abkhazia must learn to benefit from contacts with international organizations, and self-isolation cannot be in the interests of Abkhazia.”
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