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NGOs respond to ex-PM’s statements

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, November 13
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have released a joint statement over the recent comments of the former Prime Minister of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

The NGOs note that the ex-PM’s critical views of the Georgian government, in the conditions of his informal influence, will have a negative impact on the opinions of different officials and democratic institutions.

It should be noted that on November 10, Bidzina Ivanishvili stated that some representatives of NGOs in Georgia are polluting civil society. He singled out out the Executive Director of the Transparency International Georgia NGO, Eka Gigauri, calling her “the successor” of the United National Movement party, which held power until 2012.

Moreover, in his statements the former PM mentioned the Rustavi 2 TV dispute, saying that the judge's decision to appoint temporary administrators is unprofitable for the government.

Ivanishvili also said that many “ignorant statements” have been made by the European People's Party, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The NGOs expressed their concern about these statements, saying that he was “offensive and traditionally critical” and such comments are harming the image of the country.

“We want to note that these critical comments were made on the same day that the visiting EU Commissioner, Federica Mogherini, held meetings with the NGOs. Such unjustified criticism towards the third sector might be considered a decline of human rights, creating problems on the path of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration,” the statement reads.

Civil Society calls upon the high rank officials and politicians to restrain themselves from making any statements that might harm democracy and human rights.

“The former Prime Minister's attempt to link democratic institutions with political parties for their critical views and bring their independent status and assessments into question, indicates a rejection of different opinions from his side,” the NGOs stated.

The joint statement is signed by 12 NGOs.