Helsinki Commission publishes information on MEGOBARI Act
Helsinki Commission publishes information on MEGOBARI Act

U.S. Helsinki Commission published the information about the bipartisan Mobilizing and Enhancing Georgia’s Options for Building Accountability, Resilience, and Independence (MEGOBARI) Act.

According to Helsinki Commission, this vital legislation aims to bolster democratic practices, human rights, and the rule of law in the Republic of Georgia, reaffirming the United States’ commitment to supporting Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and countering the influence of authoritarian regimes, particularly Russia.

“In the Georgian language, ‘megobari’ means ‘friend,’ and this bill reflects the powerful friendship and partnership between the United States and the Georgian people,” said U.S. Helsinki Commission Chairman Rep. Joe Wilson. “The MEGOBARI Act is designed to support the Georgian people’s longstanding democratic and Euro-Atlantic aspirations and ensure their government remains accountable to its citizens and those principles.”

Commissioner Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Commissioner Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (MO-5), Rep. Jim Costa (CA-21), and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) also cosponsored the bill.

Key Provisions of the MEGOBARI Act:

Supporting Democracy and Rule of Law: The Act declares U.S. policy to defend democratic values, human rights, and the rule of law in Georgia. It acknowledges the significant progress made by Georgian civil society and emphasizes the importance of consolidating democracy for regional stability and U.S. interests.

Addressing Democratic Backsliding: In response to recent democratic decline in Georgia, the Act calls for increased scrutiny of the Georgian government’s actions and its ties to Russia and other authoritarian regimes.

Reporting and Sanctions: The Act mandates several reports to ensure accountability:

Improper Influence and Sanctions Evasion: Reports on corrupt practices in Georgia that support Russian interests and sanctions evasion.

Russian Intelligence Assets: Assessment of Russian intelligence penetration in Georgia and potential Chinese cooperation.

Sanctions on Georgian Individuals: Identification and imposition of sanctions and travel bans on individuals undermining democracy in Georgia.

Establishing a Democracy Monitoring Task Force: A task force will be set up to monitor and promote a democratic environment in Georgia, especially during elections, to ensure fair and free electoral processes.

Enhancing Bilateral Relations and Support: Upon certification of significant democratic progress in Georgia, the Act outlines further U.S. assistance, including:

Negotiating a more preferential trade agreement with Georgia.

Enhancing people-to-people exchanges and visa simplification.

Developing an economic and modernization package.

Providing security and defense support to counter Russian aggression.