Can they listen this time?
A new draft law has been registered in the Verkhovna Rada on reinstating the right of religious organizations to permanently use land. On 30 October 2006 a Draft Law on introducing amendments to some laws on Ukraine (on the right of religious organizations to permanently use land), registration № 2426, was submitted by State Deputies from the BYuT faction R. Lykyanchyk and O. Turchynov, and from the Party of the Regions – Y.M. Sukhy.
The draft law allows for the restoration of the right of religious organizations to permanently use sites which are state or municipal property. This right was removed in 2001 when the new version of the Land Code of Ukraine came into effect. The above-mentioned legislative amendments would enable religious organizations in practice to enjoy concessions on paying tax on the land as set out in point 5 § 1 of Article 12 of the Law “On payment for land”, as well as to more effectively carry out their work in meeting the spiritual and social needs of believers.
As already reported, on 17 October this year, the Verkhovna Rada rejected two draft laws with analogous content (No. 1101, tabled by V.M. Sretovych) and No. 2060, tabled by O. Turchynov). This provoked considerable protest among religious communities and was the subject of discussion at meetings held by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations with the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada O. Moroz on 20 October, and with the leadership of the parliamentary faction the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko.