Statement about Remarks of Ivanishvili about Gigauri and Kozhoridze

We issue the present statement in response to remarks made by former Prime-Minister Bidzina Ivenishvili during a TV program 20/30 about former and current directors of civil society organizations. 

Former Prime Minister continues his series of statements against non-governmental organizations. He has accused Eka Gigauri and Kakha Kozhoridze of cooperation with opposition forces but the spirit of the statement serves the aim of discrediting the civil sector. Even though Ivanishvili’s allegations are unsubstantiated, they may encourage other individuals and especially officials to use same rhetoric’s against the civil society organizations and by doing so, thwart their active involvement in important processes of public concern. Such statements of former PM are often followed by throwing of unsubstantiated allegations by politicians and officials, like we have witnessed it before. 

Frequent recent verbal assaults against civil society organizations lead us to believe that this has nothing to do with constructive criticism (which we would have welcomed) and everything to do with disrespecting someone else’s opinion. Such attitude leaves no room for one of the key objectives of civil society organizations – direct public attention towards system problems and mistakes made by the authorities. 

The fact that the position of civil society organizations may sometimes coincide with opinions of various political forces does not inevitably mean that they are subjective. If it wasn’t true, we would have been forced to abandon campaigns and initiatives that we were implementing prior to the 2012 parliamentary elections, including part 1 of the campaign It Affects You Too, which aimed at modifying the existing election system and creating competitive election environment. It is regrettable that we now need to make these clarifications. 

We remain hopeful that representatives of the authorities will not perceive statements of the former Prime Minister as instructions and they will act in accordance with law and democracy requirements, and will pursue constructive and results-oriented cooperation with civil society organizations. 

1. Civil Development Agency (CIDA)
2. International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)
3. Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association
4. Institute for Development of Freedom of Information  
5. Open Society Georgia Foundation 
6. Human Rights Center 
7. Identity
8. Economic Policy Research Center
9. Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center 
10. Green Alternative
11. Georgian Agricultural Chamber 
12. Media Institute
Regional Civil Society Network 
13. Association of Civil Initiatives
14. Spectrum Association
15. Dea Association
16. National Network for Protection against Violence – Mtskheta-Mtianeti Regional Committee
17. Biliki
18. Stepantsminda
19. Kvemo Kartli Public Information Center 
20. Nabiji Kharagauli
21. Step Forward
22. Specrum Alliance 
23. Ozurgeit Youth Scientists’ Club 
24. For Our Healthy Future
25. Resource Center for Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti Governance 
26. Youth Center of Akhaltsikhe
27. Alliance of Democrat Mesketians 
28. Union of Democratic Development of Georgia
29. Regional Development Center
30. Kutaisi Information Center