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Forum Network Statement of Solidarity with those taking a Principled Stand against the Georgian Authorities’ ‘Foreign Agents’ Legislation

Updated: Jun 8

Photo from Daily Overview

The NGO Forum on ADB, a network of over 300 civil society groups based in Asia and beyond, expresses solidarity with the tens of thousands of people across Georgia — from all walks of life — who continue to tirelessly raise their voices against the ‘foreign agents law’ despite facing repressive police forces day after day. Alongside allied organizations in Georgia, we interpret this law as an attempt to stifle and repress civil society and independent media, particularly as it labels NGOs and media outlets receiving more than 20% foreign funding as “organizations acting in the interest of a foreign power”. In this regard, we confirm that during the Annual Governors’ Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), held in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi earlier this month, the NGO Forum on ADB, along with its members and allied civil society groups, abstained from the Georgian Government’s Host Country Dinner convened on May 4th, in a deliberate act of solidarity with the defiant protest.

We are witnessing a trend across Asia of similar policies and laws targeting civil society, environmental activists, journalists, and human rights defenders. The ADB, as a multilateral financial institution providing support to highly repressive regimes through loans, technical assistance, and project financing, is therefore nothing less than a complicit actor. We urge international finance institutions, like the ADB, to halt loans, grants, and other disbursements until civil society groups in the country and abroad confirm considerable improvements for civic space.

We commend the bravery and determination of the people who remain steadfast in expressing firm opposition to the passing of the foreign agents law in Georgia. Their unwavering commitment to standing on the right side of history at this crucial juncture serves as an inspiration to us all. To that end, we commit to being present as observers from afar, ready to reiterate our support for their advocacy efforts to challenge parliamentarians’ decision to move ahead with the law, pushing for an immediate, unconditional repeal of this repressive legislation.


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