The Institute for Religious Freedom – Kyiv, Ukraine – The leaders of churches and religious organizations urged the President of Ukraine to veto the amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” specified by the adopted draft law № 10221.
The corresponding letter was handed personally to Viktor Yanukovych during his meeting with members of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (UCCRO), held October 17, 2012 in the building of the Presidential Administration, reports the Institute for Religious Freedom.
This appeal to the President was signed by all leaders of denominations, who were present at the meeting. This issue was also separately raised in the speeches of Patriarch Filaret, Primate of the UOC-KP and Major Archbishop Sviatoslav, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
“We believe the development of the draft law № 10221 by the Ministry of Justice and its adoption by the Parliament are steps to the destabilization of the religious situation in the society, deterioration of religious freedom in Ukraine, creation of significant obstacles to the spiritual and social ministry of churches and religious organizations”, – emphasized religious leaders in their statement.
According to them, the need to veto the draft law № 10221 is conditioned by a complete disregard for the position of the religious community and the agreements reached by UCCRO with the author of the project – Permanent Representative of the President in the parliament Yuriy Miroshntchenko and its developer – the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.
Leaders of denominations reminded the President on the promise given on April 21, 2011 during the first meeting with the members of UCCRO, that the legislation on freedom of conscience will not be altered in the absence of its consensus support from denominations. In this case the law was passed without discussion and any edits, proposed for the second reading.
Leaders of churches and religious organizations believe that by the use of veto on the draft law № 10221, the President would protect the fundamental right to freedom of religion and affirm his promises.
It should be noted that the adopted law complicates the procedure for obtaining by religious organizations the status of the legal entity in connection with the introduction of two inconsistent registration procedures: registration of statutes and state registration (inclusion in the Unified Register of Legal Entities).
The draft law № 10221, like in the days of the Soviet totalitarian past, provides for the right to monitor the implementation of legislation on freedom of conscience and religion to the public prosecution bodies, the Ministry of Culture and other ministries and local authorities.
Source: The Institute for Religious Freedom – Kyiv, Ukraine