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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

USA announce a visa restriction policy for Georgian individuals for foreign agent law

In a big setback for Georgia, the United States of America’s Secretary of State Blinken on Thursday announced a visa restriction policy for Georgian individuals for foreign agents bill.

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In a big setback for Georgia, the United States of America’s Secretary of State Blinken on Thursday announced a visa restriction policy for Georgian individuals. The annoucement came in the backdrop  of the adoption of a controversial foreign agent bill by the Georgian Parliament in the third and final reading. Although the President had vetoed the bill as it was inconsistent with democratic values.

 

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According to media reports  the restrictions include individuals responsible for suppressing civil society and freedom of peaceful assembly in Georgia through violence or intimidation.  Secretary Blinken stated that “foreign influence law”  would stifle the exercise of freedoms of association and expression and further impede independent media organizations working to provide Georgians with access to high-quality, transparent information.

 

The statement further states that ,both the national security law and the repressive tactics used to quell legitimate dissent undermine Georgia’s democracy. Apart from responsible individuals, restrictions will also be imposed against anyone who undermines democratic processes or institutions in Georgia.

 

Anyone who tries to create the ruckus before the scheduled election of October will be ineligible for U.S. visas under this policy and precluded from travel to the United States. Moreover  immediate family members of such persons may also face the heat of policy.   The Secretary of State   said that if the law is not withdrawn  a review of all bilateral relations between both countries may also be launched.

 

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Secretary of State  in the end also added that “We hope that Georgian leaders will reconsider the draft law and take steps to move forward while taking into account the people’s demands.”

Notably, visa restriction measures have been imposed under section  212 (a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and National Act. This section authorized the State Department to implement visa restrictions. These visa restrictions can be imposed on individuals as well as current or former state or non-state actors who are responsible for undermining democracy in Georgia.

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