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Transparency International concerned over threats to civic space and corruption in Georgia

The 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) shows Georgia has continued to stagnate in the fight against corruption. Yet instead of responding by redoubling efforts to address the root causes of corruption in the country, the Georgian government has resorted to defaming our national chapter. Transparency International is deeply concerned about these sustained attacks against our national chapter, Transparency International Georgia and the ongoing challenges to civic space.

Although Georgia reaches a score of 56 out of 100 on the CPI, it is mainly due to its efforts to reduce low-level bribery, but the progress has slowed since 2012. Disappointingly, in a country once held up as an anti-corruption champion in the region, the current government is effectively killing any momentum to fight this problem. In recent years, there are worrying signs as state capture and kleptocracy take hold and the current government hinders the fight against corruption and eradicates past progress.

Key state institutions, the judiciary and law enforcement have all been captured by the governing Georgian Dream party, which is widely believed to be controlled by Georgia's richest man and former prime minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili. This has resulted in widespread abuses of power at the highest levels, which go largely unpunished. Transparency International Georgia's monitoring has identified numerous cases of alleged high-level corruption that have not been investigated. This demonstrates the country’s turn to kleptocracy, as officials systematically use political power to appropriate the country's wealth. Furthermore, the government continues to silence critical voices, including political opposition, media and civil society.

Instead of being wrongly complacent about the country’s performance on the CPI, the Georgian government must double down on its efforts to fight against corruption, while creating an enabling environment for civil society to hold power to account.

Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International, said:

“Attacks against TI Georgia raise serious concerns about the government's commitment to transparency and accountability. We must stand in solidarity with those who work tirelessly to promote good governance and expose corruption, and ensure that their voices are heard and their work is protected.”

Transparency International calls on the Georgian government to immediately stop the attacks against Transparency International Georgia and prioritise the protection of civic space. Only by allowing critical voices to do their work can the Georgian government create a more transparent and accountable society for all Georgians.