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Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.

UUSC Expresses Solidarity with CEECCNA Partners Facing Authoritarian Crackdown

 

In response to the imminent passage of a new law in the Caucasus country of Georgia—forcing non-governmental organizations to register as “agents of foreign influence” if they receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad—UUSC issued the following response: 

This dangerous new law—which is expected to survive the Georgia president’s recent well-justified veto—would stigmatize the essential work of civil society and human rights advocates in Georgia—falsely tarring them as “foreign agents” just for financing their work with support from international partners. We therefore unhesitatingly join the call of our partners at the Dalan Fund to express solidarity with organizations operating in Georgia, and the Georgian people as a whole, in the face of this new crackdown on their rights. 

UUSC and other donor organizations routinely provide resources to human rights defenders across national boundaries. This is central to our model of global solidarity and grassroots partnership. Organizations receiving these funds deserve to continue their vital work in peace and security—not to be branded as spies or turncoats for taking the same ordinary steps that all non-profits take to sustain their operations. 

The threat to organizations in Georgia is especially appalling, because the country up to this point has served as a refuge for human rights advocates and other displaced people from the rest of the Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central and North Asia (CEECCNA) region, who have fled authoritarian repression at the hands of their own governments. 

Ever since Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, UUSC has worked with partners across this region to push back against Russian imperialism. Our partners are led by and for people most affected by this violence, including those for whom the war has compounded pre-existing forms of injustice: such as patriarchy, racism, heterosexism, and ableism.

The crackdown on human rights advocates in Georgia mirrors the broader trend in the CEECCNA region—and globally—toward a closing of independent civil society. For the reasons stated above, it also threatens our partners from other countries in the region. Therefore, even though UUSC does not directly work in Georgia, we are fully in solidarity with the Georgian people as they resist this repression.

The CEECCNA region is not unique in facing these injustices. Across the globe—in Russia, India, Israel, the United States, and elsewhere—we see the same disturbing trends toward authoritarianism and a narrowing space for civil society. Now, the government of Georgia is following the same trajectory—not only in this law, but in the ruling party’s attacks on the rights of women and the LGBTQIA+ community as well. 

UUSC condemns these forms of interconnected oppression. We reject racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism, and the rising authoritarianism linked to these ideologies. We will also continue to deliver resources to our partners in the broader CEECCNA region, regardless of the attempts of repressive governments to smear their work, shut down their just mission, and slander their good name. 

UUSC members can help us continue to finance and support our CEECCNA partners with a contribution to our Annual Fund. We also invite you to join our email list for regular updates.