On behalf of PEN Georgia, Georgian writers, publishers and cultural representatives appealed to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay to strip Eliso Bolkvadze, chair of the Committee on Culture of the Georgian Parliament, of her status as a Peace Envoy.
The letter was signed by 126 people.
Here is its content and the list of signatories:
On March 7, 2023 the Parliament of Georgia adopted in the first reading the Draft Law on Agents of Foreign Influence, which was aimed at creating an institution of bugging in the country, persecuting the media and the non-governmental sector, and legally suppressing freedom of expression. This completely contradicted Georgia's aspiration to become a full-fledged member of the European family and a candidate country of the European Union. Today, when more than a year has passed since Russia invaded Ukraine and more than 20 per cent of Georgia's territory is occupied by Russia, we consider the adoption of a document similar to the law adopted in Russia in 2012 to be a clear and unconditional betrayal. of state and national interests.This decision was followed by mass demonstrations in Tbilisi. Many citizens of the country suffered in the struggle for the European future of Georgia. As a result of the protests the second hearing of the draft law was scheduled in an unprecedentedly short period of time, although Eliso Bolkvadze did not vote against the draft law even in this hearing.
We believe that Eliso Bolkvadze, as a politician and artist, does not deserve the status of UNESCO Peace Envoy (Artist for Peace) that she has held under the auspices of UNESCO since 2015.
We strongly believe that her purpose in this role should be to care for the peaceful, civilised coexistence of the world's population, which is completely at odds with her political activities, and vivid proof of this is her support for an anti-state draft law written in imitation of the enemy.
We look forward to your response.