Verkhovna Rada ignores the interests of believers


On 17 October the Verkhovna Rada rejected the draft laws on amendments to the Land Code of Ukraine (on the right of religious organizations to permanently use land (Registered as No. 1101, tabled by V.M. Sretovych) and No. 2060, tabled by O. Turchynov.

The first draft law received 125 votes, the second – 120.

From the political factions represented in the Verkhovna Rada, only BYuT voted for the draft laws. The Parliamentary factions in the “Anti-crisis coalition” (the Party of the Regions, the Socialist Party of Ukraine, and the Communist Party of Ukraine), and also the faction “Nasha Ukraine” (“Our Ukraine”) did not support the draft laws, thus overtly disregarding the interests of believers and faiths in Ukraine, the Institute of Religious Freedom reports.

As reported earlier, on 2 October the heads of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Protestant Churches, the Association of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine and others addressed an appeal to the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Oleksandr Moroz, leaders of parliamentary fractions, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, calling on them to support the above-mentioned amendments to Article 92 of the Land Code of Ukraine (to reinstate the right of religious organizations to permanent use of land which is state or municipal property).

The vote on 17 October 2006 in the Verkhovna Rada demonstrated clearly to society the low level of understanding of the needs for religious freedom by a large number of the Deputies in parliament.

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