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19.03.2007

All-Ukrainian Council of Churches supports moratorium on privatizing places of religious worship

   

On 16 March 2007 leaders of the main member Churches of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations appealed to the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Oleksandr Moroz and leaders of parliamentary factions to support the draft law “On introducing amendments to some laws of Ukraine (regarding a moratorium on privatizing places of religious worship owned by the State or municipal authorities” (registration No. 2758).

In their appeal they point out that there has been an increase over recent years in the number of cases where property used for religious worship has been privatized, and for this reason emphasise the importance of the given draft law.

They believe that this will help in completing the return of Church property in Ukraine in accordance with Ukraine’s commitments to the Council of Europe (PACE Conclusion No. 190 (1995) and Resolution No. 1466 (2005).

The appeal is signed by the leaders of the main member Churches of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations (the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Kyiv Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (under the Moscow Patriarchate), the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine, the All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Baptist Christians, the Church of Evangelical Christians of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church, the Association of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Lutheran Church and the German Evangelical-Protestant Church of Ukraine).

It should be noted that on 14 March the parliamentary Committee on Economic Policy, with a majority from the ruling coalition, passed a decision to recommend that the Verkhovna Rada reject the draft law. However the representatives of the religious community hope that deputies will not follow this recommendation when voting and will pass the draft law in its first reading.

This issue has been raised a number of times by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations over the last year, most recently in an appeal on 24 November 2006.

www.risu.org (abridged)

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