Ida Bakhturidze’s powerful statement at the Commission on the Status of Women

Ida Bakhturidze, Co-director or our Georgian office, delivered a powerful statement at the UN Headquarters during the plenary session of the Commission on the Status of Women this Wednesday. 

This year, the Commission on the Status of Women focusses on innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Ida is an outspoken human rights defender and an expert in the field of women’s empowerment, gender equality, and sustainable development. She spoke on the increasing online digital violence against women activists and LGBTQIA+ people and the particular danger of this Russian inspired “foreign agent law” which we wrote an article on earlier. After large pushback and protests, the bill was thankfully retracted, but Georgia is not out of the woods yet. 

Read her intervention below or find the video on UN WEB TV at around 26 minutes.


Thank you chairs,

I am speaking on behalf of our NGO called Women Engage for a Common Future. We are a network of 250 partners in 70 countries, and I represent our organization in Georgia, Europe.

In line with its international commitments, Georgia has made significant progress in adopting a legislative and policy framework to strengthen national institutions on gender equality and women’s rights. However, the geopolitical situation in Georgia, the Russian war propaganda, and polarization and disinformation rising, we, civil society activists, no longer feel safe. 

There has been increasing technology facilitated gender-based violence against women activists and LGBTQIA+ persons, which has escalated into physical violence and attacks.  Especially after the Government party has been trying to pass a new law to silence civil society, based on the ‘Russian law on foreign agents’. 

The government party chairman has been advocating for the law as a way to restrict, among others CSOs, that in their view engage in  “LGBT propaganda”.

Last week the majority party tried to pass the law through the Georgian Parliament. 

All of civil society, together with the citizens of Georgia, came out into the streets for massive protests. Finally, after 3 days of ongoing protests, Georgia retracted the law. 

But simply retracting this bill is not going to solve the problem of anti-gender activities.

Until we establish a joint strategy against gender-disinformation, technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV), deep fakes and online propaganda, women’s-rights and lgbtqi+-rights activists will not be safe, and neither will our democracy.

Thank you chairs