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Human rights in Ukraine – 2008. 6. FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, CONSCIENCE AND RELIGION

   

  [1]

1. Overview

The situation with freedom of thought, conscience and religion did change significantly in 2008. This section provides a general outline of the range of existing problems in safeguarding this freedom. To a considerable extent, most of the problems have been discussed in our previous annual reports. Since the situation remains virtually unchanged at the legislative level, and changes in administrative practice are also not major, the material from 2004-2007 can confidently still be used.[2].

Ukraine has done virtually nothing to implement the judgment handed down by the European Court of Human Rights in the Case of Svyato-Mykhaylivska Parafiya v. Ukraine.[3] In this case the Court found a number of specific failings in Ukrainian legislation and administrative practice; infringements by the State of the principle of neutrality; violations of the right to religious association; unpredictability, inconsistency and lack of clarity of legislative acts, etc.

Following an appeal from the Svyato-Mykhaylivska Parafiya (a religious organization) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate «Church to mark one thousand years since the christening of Kyivan Rus» in the Darnytsky District of Kyiv, the Supreme Court issued a Resolution on 1 July 2008. Through a review in light of new circumstances (in this case the above-mentioned judgment handed down by the European Court of Human Rights) the Supreme Court revoked its own ruling from 5 July 2000 and sent the case for a new examination to the District Administrative Court in Kyiv. It instructed the court to review the case bearing in mind the European Court judgment. Nothing is yet known of the latter examination of this case.

No measures to eliminate the rights infringements pointed out by the European Court were eliminated.

In October 2008 the European Court of Human Rights entered into communication with the Ukrainian Government in three more cases over possible violation of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom of thought and religion): the Community of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the village of Korshiv v. Ukraine (Application No. 9557/04), the Religious Community of the Svyato-Troitska Parish in the village of Mylostiv v. Ukraine (Application № 39238/03) and the Roman Catholic Community of St Clement in Sevastopol v. Ukraine (Application № 22607/02).[4] These cases involve the return of Church property and interference of the State in Church relations where the community is changing its subordination.

We should note the draft law tabled in parliament «On amendments to the Law of Ukraine «On freedom of conscience and religious organizations» (regarding preventing the activities of religious cults of a dangerous nature and totalitarian sects)[5]. According to the explanatory note, this draft law is directed against the activities of so called «religious cults of a destructive nature» which in the view of the author pose a real threat to human rights and civil liberties.

Among the main negative features of this draft law are an increase in the number of members needed for a religious community to gain legal entity status to 50 (against 10 at present); restriction of the right to exist of autonomous religious communities; the virtual negation of the right of a religious organization to withdraw from a religious association; restriction of the activities of a religious community; the proposal to designate in the name of the religious association the words «centre» or «board»; the imposition of an existence requirement for communities on Ukrainian territory in order for them to create a religious association; the introduction of a «list of elements of a religious cult» which only registered religious organizations are entitled to use; an increase in the timeframe for reviewing documents submitted for registration to not less than six months, and in some cases to twelve; the introduction of annual re-registration with a State body on religious affairs during the first ten years of activities of religious communities which do not belong to religious associations already registered in Ukraine; a ban on foreign nationals belonging to religious organizations and holding leading positions in them, etc.[6]

This draft law seriously restricts religious freedom and generally breaches a number of articles of the Constitution, the Civil Code, the Law «On the legal status of foreign nationals and stateless persons», the position of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as expressed for example in its report from 5 October «On Ukraine’s honouring of its obligations and commitments», as well as the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms». It was for tabling this and several other draft laws that National Deputy Gennady Moskal received the UHHRU anti-award «Thistle of the Year» for the most dangerous legislative initiative in the area of human rights.[7]

2.  Freedom of thought, conscience and religion: the right to believe

In general, legislation adequately defends this freedom and establishes many guarantees for safeguarding it. There are no provisions regarding compulsory support for religious organizations, forced membership in organizations or obstacles placed in the way of changing one’s religion. There are provisions enabling people not to work on religious festivals, etc.

There is just one fundamental area where this freedom could potentially encounter unwarranted interference. This is in connection with alternative military service where the following infringements of international standards are observed:

-  This right is granted only on the basis of religious views and not where a person is guided by moral or political convictions, for example, pacifist views;

-  The right is granted only by members of officially registered religious organizations, although the Law does not oblige religious organizations to register;

-  The right is granted solely to members of religious organizations stipulated in the Cabinet of Ministers Resolution which is of an overtly discriminatory nature;

-  During the procedure required to establish this right, a person must provide documents certifying that he belongs to a particular religious organization (involving the need to provide evidence of ones religious convictions and the possibility of these convictions being «checked»);

-  The period for alternative service is twice as long as the usual period for military service which is also overtly discriminatory.

There is also a problem with choice of places for doing alternative service which is much too limited if one considers the positive experience of other European countries.

3. Freedom to practise ones religion or beliefs

3.1. Formation and activities of religious organizations

Any collective practice of religious beliefs in Ukraine without the creation of a legal entity (religious organization) is extremely difficult. This is required for virtually any «religious activities», for leasing premises, for holding public services or inviting representatives of foreign religious figures; printing or circulating literature. At the same time, in order to do alternative military service, a person must demonstrate that he belongs to a registered organization included in the list of «organizations whose teachings do not permit the use of arms»

Although the legislators allowed for religious communities to exist without registration and without legal entity status, in practice registration is needed for any group of believers who wish to publicly exercise their faith in any way. Unregistered communities enjoy virtually no rights.

According to international standards, the right to create a religious organization is an inalienable part of the general right of association, and therefore a different system for registering civic and religious organizations, as is in place at present, can hardly be deemed necessary in a democratic society

The following infringements to freedom of religion are to be noted when registering religious organizations

1) Legislation sets out an exhaustive list of legal forms for religious organizations with a system of management established by law in advance.

This is a clear violation both of the rights of individuals to determine their own form of religious associations, as well as of the right to autonomy of the religious group itself, with the opportunity to independently determine its structure and run it being intrinsically linked with this right. Ukrainian legislation, for example, effectively prevents the formation of charismatic religious organizations since according to the law the highest body of any religious organization is the general assembly of believers, with this running counter to the view of many religions and faiths. The Church can also not be registered as a legal entity, but only as the executive body of an association of religious communities.

2) Double registration: the first involves a meticulous check of the faith’s compliance with legislation (the articles of association of the religious organization), and the second – gaining legal entity status in the general procedure for all enterprises, institutions and organizations.

3) The time frame for registration is discriminatory with relation to other associations and clearly unwarranted. The law states that this is one month and in some cases can be extended to three months. However, in practice, the average period required for registration is, at best, 3-9 months.

4) Legislation does not set down clear grounds for turning down registration or liquidating a religious organization. It also fails to stipulate how detailed a refusal must be, although there should be clear indication of what the infringement is. Nor does legislation state how admissible inconsistencies between the articles of association of the religious organization and Ukrainian legislation are, whether they are simply textual discrepancies, or whether there is a significant inconsistency in the aims and activities of the organization which in practice will lead to infringements of legislation.

5) Legislation does not permit foreign nationals, even where they are permanently resident in the country, to found religious organizations. This is a particularly pertinent issue for national minorities.

Overall, as noted by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Svyato-Mykhaylivska Parafiya v. Ukraine mentioned above, the law on freedom of conscience and religious organizations lacks consistency and foreseeability[8] In this judgment, the Court also pointed out the first and fourth of the problems we have outlined here.

In total, according to figures from the State Committee on Nationalities and Religion[9], on 1 January 2009 33, 639 religious organizations, 85 centres, 255 boards (eparchies, diocese, etc), 340 missions, 74 brotherhoods and 31, 257 religious communities were registered in the country.

However according to figures from the State Committee of Statistics in the Single State Register of Enterprises, Organizations and Institutions there is information about 21, 425 religious organizations.

This difference is very easy to explain. From when double register was introduced for religious organizations several years ago organizations which were at that time already registered had to go through additional registration with the State Registrar and receive a certificate of State registration. These statistics show that 11, 214 religious organizations have still not gone through this double registration. Therefore if parliament should pass the draft law[10] which cancels registration of legal entities which have not undergone such re-registration, then all these organizations could cease to exist with all the corresponding property and other consequences. It will clearly not be possible to avoid numerous conflicts and violations of freedom of religion.

The following have the largest number of registered communities:: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate – 11 731, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate – 4 221, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church – 1 219, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church – 3 728, Roman Catholic Church – 1 064.[11]

3.2. The State’s positive duties with regard to protecting the peaceful practice of religion from incursions by others and protection of religious minorities

According to Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and numerous norms of international law on the protection of national minorities, the State has a positive duty to safeguard the peaceful worship of all people, especially of religious minorities. The State must protect individual worshipers, collective public actions and church property. These standards require governments to introduce legislative and administrative measures to deter members of other religions from attacks or other obstacles to the peaceful exercising of ones religion or faith.

However these positive duties do not envisage the State providing help in practising religion, for example, via financial assistance, allocation of premises or other property, land sites etc. The government carries the latter tasks out at its own discretion however international standards require particular attention to be paid by the government to the rights of national minorities and for this to be carried out on a non-discriminatory basis.

The failure to fulfil these positive duties is one of the problems in the administrative practice of the authorities. Defending minorities is often an unpopular step in society. In many cases, therefore, the authorities avoid fulfilling this duty due to their own discriminatory views or under the influence of dominant religious organizations

A particular problem is presented by the inadequate behaviour of the law enforcement agencies in protecting property linked with a religion. Vandal attacks on cemeteries are widespread. One should note the sudden high percentage (especially against the virtual lack of activity in this area by the law enforcement agencies in previous years) of crimes linked with vandalism which have been solved. Churches, synagogues, cemeteries and memorials have repeatedly suffered acts of vandalism.[12]

·  Crimean police identified the offenders who painted satanist signs on gravestones at Muslim and Christian cemeteries in Marfivka village on 21 January and destroyed 124 gravestones at a Christian cemetery in Voykove village on 24 January. Both villages are located in the Lenine District, Crimea. Police officials declared that the vandals were alcoholics who had neither religious nor ethnic motivation to commit that crime.

·  On 28 January 2008, swastikas and obscene words were discovered on windows and a fence outside and inside the yard of the Hesed building in Kryvyj Rih. .

·  On 10 February 220 tombstones at a Muslim cemetery in Nyzhnyohirske, Crimea were destroyed. The Crimean Tatar Mejlis issued a statement describing the desecration as a premeditated incident. Mejlis leaders declared that the attackers were emboldened by the lax attitude of the local police to previous cases of vandalism..

·  In late March 2008 vandals destroyed a crucifix and painted graffiti on the Armenian Cathedral in Lviv.

·  On 3 March unidentified individuals painted swastikas and wrote insulting slogans on the burial site of Rabbi Levi Itskhak and on several graves at the Jewish cemetery in Berdychiv, Zhytomyr Region (oblast). Police arrested a suspect, and in June 2008 a Berdychiv court gave the offender an 18-month suspended sentence for the desecration.

·  In April 2008 vandals in Zhytomyr set fire to a cemetery memorial to prominent spiritual leader Rabbi Aharon and painted antireligious symbols on the walls of the memorial. Law enforcement agencies arrested two teenagers who claimed they made the fire to keep warm but it accidentally spread to the memorial.

·  On 24 April, 2008, vandals destroyed 11 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Bolgrad, Odessa Region.

·  In mid-April 2008 police detained three secondary school students who damaged more than 100 gravestones at 2 Christian cemeteries in Dobropillya, Donetsk Region.

·  In early May 2008 unidentified individuals painted Nazi symbols and damaged gravestones at a cemetery in Sevastopol..

·  2008, two men vandalized the sanctuary and damaged icons at the Dormition Church of the UOC-MP’s St. Nickolas Monastery in the Korop District, Chernihiv Oblast, and injured two monastery staff who tried to stop the desecration. One attacker was detained

Another problem is the lack of legislative and administrative measures from the authorities to reduce intolerant, untruthful publications in the media with regard to religious minorities and to counter religious enmity.

 

3.3. The organization and holding of religious peaceful gatherings

The Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations runs counter to Article 39 of the Ukrainian Constitution in imposing a permission-based procedure for holding religious peaceful gatherings. In practice, holding public religious peaceful events is fraught with an even greater number of problems based on discrimination, intolerance and arbitrary interpretation of legislation.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church [UGCC] complained that in May 2008 members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate [UOC MP] in Bila Tserkva had tried to obstruct the ceremony blessing the Cross on the site allocated for the construction of the first UGCC Church in the city. The UGCC believe that local supporters of UOC MP viewed the future construction of the church as an example of «Catholic expansion». Prominent representatives of UOC MP informed UGCC that the protest had taken place without the consent of the UOC MP leadership. Law enforcement agencies and other authorities did not defend the UGCC representatives.

 

3.4. The rights of foreign nationals and stateless persons

Ukrainian legislation continues to substantially restrict freedom of worship for foreign nationals and stateless persons. This is reflected in their not being able to found religious organizations, or engage in preaching work or other religious activities. These restrictions even apply in the case of people permanently resident in Ukraine. Furthermore foreign nationals may engage in preaching activities only at the official invitation of a registered religious organization (although their registration is not compulsory) and permission from the State authorities on religious affairs.

The lack of a permit entails administrative liability for foreign nationals (a fine), and for religious organizations – a warning, then in future possible forced closure.

This situation became more difficult during 2008. The local Departments on Religious Affairs became strict in demanding that foreign preachers have a special religious visa. Although Ukraine has a visa-free system for nationals of many countries, the local Departments did not issue permits for holding religious peaceful gatherings with the involvement of foreign nationals unless the latter had special visas, and also refused to give permits for their preaching activities. An analysis of such cases suggests that these refusals more likely served as a formal pretext for the authorities to ban the activities of religious organizations that they didn’t like.

According to government information during the period covered by this report, not one foreign religious figure was refused a visa. Mormons consider that the law does not clearly set out regulations on missionary work and that they had certain problems with local officials who restricted where they could carry out their missionary activities.[13]

During 2008 the State Committee on Nationalities and Religion informed of the activities of 783 foreign priests and other religious figures, this being around 2% of the overall number. 3, 710 people were invited to Ukraine in 2008 to conduct religious services and engage in other religious activities.

4.  The State and religious organizations

4.1. The principle of inviolability and neutrality

The constitutional principle of separation is based on the principle of pluralism of thought and entails the impossibility of merging the State and religion.[14]

The principle of neutrality demands that the State show no bias towards existing religions or faiths. This principle is closely linked with the above principle and follows from the separation of State and religious organizations. One of the key approaches when assessing the actions of the authorities from this point of view is adherence to the principles of non-discriminatory, unbiased and equal attitudes to all religious organizations.

State support for certain churches is not a violation of these principles unless it establishes universal rules binding all to provide such support or look favourably on these religious organizations.

Adherence to these principles is one of the greatest problems in the authorities’ administrative practice.

This is in the first instance linked with the fact that the authorities, fighting for the support of the electorate, always show a favourable attitude to the dominant religion. This has taken on new proportions in recent years. Virtually all top management in the executive branch of power, the Speaker of Parliament and other high-ranking public officials publicly support one or other religious organization.

Clearly this patronage gives the informal message that these dominant religious organizations have more rights. This is graphically reflected in situations involving property issues, for example, allocation of sites of land to construct places of worship or the return of religious property confiscated under Soviet rule. In such situations, this favourable attitude assumes a practical dimension. Positive decisions on these issues, with few exceptions, are received only by the dominant religious organizations. It should be noted that in this context it is religious organizations which are most widespread in a given area (region) that are dominant. Different religious organizations, usually the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate or under the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC KP), are dominant in different areas

Crimean Muslims turned to President Yushchenko asking that he intervene in the situation over the construction of the Soborna [Assembly] Mosque in Simferopol. Throughout 2008 the Simferopol City Council refused to allocate the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of the Crimea a specific land site to build a mosque, The City Council suddenly took this stand in January 2008, despite the fact that the Spiritual Directorate had submitted all applications and documents for permission to build on Yaltynska St more than three years earlier, this entailing considerable expense and effort. All had seemed in order under the sudden about-turn by the City Council in January. The Mayor Gennady Bebenko claimed that the City Council was simply listening to the will of most residents of the city, however the decision was appealed against by the Crimean Prosecutor, criticized by the Crimean Head of Police, and three courts confirmed the original site for the Mosque.[15]

Problems also arise between religious organizations and law enforcement agencies.

On 14 July 2008 the Council of Evangelical Protestant Churches [CEPC] sent a second appeal to the Prime Minister Y. Tymoshenko, as well as to the Minister of Internal Affairs Y. Lutsenko and individual National Deputies. In it they point to the incomplete and biased nature of the investigation into unlawful and rough behaviour from police officers towards religious ministers and believers of Ukraine’s Protestant churches. The appeal was prompted by what the Leaders of CEPC call a negative trend in the activity of the law enforcement agencies. This is demonstrated by the inadequate investigation into the rough search in August 2007 by armed criminal police officers and the «Berkut» Special Forces Unit during a religious service at the House of Worship of the Church of Christians of the Evangelical Faith «Living Water» in Yevpatoriya; the fabrication of a criminal investigation by Donetsk Regional MIA Investigators and subsequent charges laid against the presbyter of the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church S.Zaitseva, which is receiving the overly active support of the Donetsk Prosecutor’s Office. It is seen also in the threats and the danger posed to the life of religious ministers by a police officer using firearms in November 2007 during the forced eviction of the orphanage «Drop of God’s Blessing» [«Word of Life»] from municipal premises from the Darnytsa district in Kyiv.[16]

Another constant problem is seen in the support given by the authorities to one of the parties in a religious dispute linked with an internal schism in the religious organization.

The State authorities often take sides in such conflict which violates the principle of neutrality and Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

It was precisely the violation of this principle which led to Ukraine’s losing the case mentioned above in the European Court of Human Rights.

There are a particularly large number of violations of this principle at local level.

There are still problems with the return of places of worship nationalized by the Soviet regime

 

4.2. The rights of parents with regard to the religious education of their children and the principle of State neutrality

According to international standards, religious education in schools and higher educational institutions can be introduced however such courses should be the same and based on the principles of objectivity, non-discrimination and impartiality. They cannot therefore include only the views of one religion or faith. The State must respect the right of parents to determine their children’s religious upbringing.[17]

In various regions of the country courses in Christian Ethics and other subjects of a moral and religious direction are being introduced with varying degrees of interest from parents, students and the public, depth and quality of teaching and preparation of teachers.

At present these subjects are optional and studied at the wish of parents, which is in keeping with international standards. However this is not the case in all cities.

In the West of the country there is a clear trend towards compulsory studies of only Christian denominations. Virtually all textbooks in this are one-sided and do not comply with the principle of impartiality. On the other hand, they have aroused a wave of indignation from representatives of the Church since they are built on a symbiosis of Christian denominations, and are not fully coordinated with the teachings of these Churches.

Furthermore, throughout virtually the entire country there is a shortage of teachers of this subject. Often graduates of seminaries and religious educational institutions are invited to teach such courses. It is difficult to believe that a person who has graduated from such an institution will teach the course with objectivity and impartiality.

It should be noted that the President’s Decree from 2005 on introducing into the State school curriculum a course on «Ethics of faith» did not have any significant result. This decree received the backing of the four main Christian hierarchs however on a national scale its introduction was unsystematic and was even further slowed down by objections from the Jewish and Muslim communities against the fact that such courses were to be based on Christian postulates.

The members of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations continued to call for changes and additions to the law allowing private educational institutions, in addition to the secular curriculum, to teach students the religious values of their religious organization founders. In June 2008 the Ministry of Education and Science supported this initiative. The Ministry and representatives of religious organizations agreed to hold further consultations in order to determine the procedure for implementing the initiative.

Later a Public Council for Cooperation with the Churches and Religious Organizations attached to the Ministry of Education and Science was created.[18] Nothing is known about its further activities.

5.  Recommendations

1  Ukrainian legislation should be brought into conformity with the demands of Articles 9 and 11 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the light of the court case law of the European Court of Human Rights, in particular, as regards ensuring the neutrality of the State, the possibility for a religious community to receive legal entity status and to freely practice their religion.. For this it would be desirable to apply the «Guidelines for Review of Legislation Pertaining to Religion or Belief» prepared by the OSCE / ODIHR and the Venice Commission in 2004[19]

In drawing up amendments to legislation the following changes are needed:

-  the focus should be moved away from checking out organizations at registration stage to monitoring their activity: accordingly shortening and simplifying the registration of religious organizations, making the procedure at least analogous with the registration of civic associations;

-  discrimination must be eliminated when registering the articles of association of religious communities and the grounds clearly defined for refusing to register or for cancelling the registration of such articles of association;

-  norms must be removed from legislation which impose a structure and system of management on religious organizations. These issues must be regulated exclusively by the articles of association of the organization;.

-  the permission-based procedure for holding religious peaceful gatherings must be abolished;

-  restrictions on the religious activities of foreign nationals and stateless persons must be abolished, including allowing such people who are permanently resident in Ukraine to found religious organizations;

2) State bodies should not interfere in internal Church affairs, and should clearly observe the principle of neutrality, in particular, as regards the creation of a single Local Orthodox Church., nor should they defend one of the sides in internal Church conflicts;

3) Effective mechanisms are needed for avoiding discrimination on religious grounds, particularly in the penal system, the social sphere and in the area of labour relations. It is also vital to make adjustments to legislation on taxation of religious organizations in order to remove discrimination against non-Christian organizations (for example, on taxing VAT, defining the term «religious services», etc);

; 4) Law enforcement agencies must continue to react swiftly and appropriately to cases of incitement to religious hostility and vandalism;

5) In order to eliminate discriminatory administrative practice and conflict between churches, clear legal norms should be passed stipulating the grounds, procedure and time periods for returning church property. It would also be expedient to draw up a detailed plan for returning religious property with these procedures and the time taken for each object defined. Where it is impossible to return such property, provision of some compensation should be stipulated, in particular, for the construction of new buildings of worship or allocation of land sites;

 6) Local authorities should review legislative acts they have passed which establish discriminatory provisions, and also additional limitations, not foreseen by the law, on freedom of religion when holding peaceful gatherings, renting premises, allocating land and returning religious buildings. General principles should also be clearly outlined for the allocation of sites for building places of worship

7) Permanent joint Commissions with representatives of both religious organizations and of the government should be created in order to resolve issues of mutual concern (property, cultural monuments, the family, education, etc).

8) Religious education in schools and higher education institutions may be introduced however the courses must be the same and built on the principles of objectivity, non-discrimination and impartiality. Such courses must not therefore only include the teachings of one religion or faith. The introduction of such education should meet OSCE and Council of Europe standards, and the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.



[1] Prepared by Volodymyr Yavorsky, UHHRU Executive Director.

[2] See “Human Rights in Ukraine – 2004” and for each subsequent year at: Available at: : http://www.helsinki.org.ua/en/index.php?r=a2b3 and http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?r=a2b4c12,

[3] Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the Case of Svyato-Mykhaylivska Parafiya v. Ukraine from 14 September 2007 In this case the Kyiv City State Administration had refused to register amendments to the articles of association of the Svyato-Mykhaylivska Parafiya which envisaged changing canonical subordination from the Moscow Patriarchate to the Kyiv Patriarchate. We should also add that the Head of this Parafiya in parallel stated that unlawful actions against him by the authorities had been started again, cf. “The Head of the Parafiya Council which won its case in the European Court is being persecuted by the Kyiv Tax Police // Religious Information Service of Ukraine http://www.risu.org.ua/freedom/monitoring/article;17117/.

[4] http://hrlawyers.khpg.org/index.php?r=a1b3.

[5] Registration № 2419 from 21.04.08; author – Gennady Moskal. Available in Ukrainian on the parliamentary website http://gska2.rada.gov.ua/pls/zweb_n/webproc4_1?id=&pf3511=32379.

[6] Y. Reshetnikov: “Legislative safeguarding of freedom of conscience and the activities of religious organizations: situation, trends and problems // Religious Information Service of Ukraine 27.05.2008 http://www.risu.org.ua/ukr/religion.and.society/analysis/.

[7] More on the Thistle of the Year anti-awards for 2008 at: http://www.helsinki.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1229084701.

[8] See paragraphs 130-131 of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Svyato-Mykhaylivska Parafiya v. Ukraine from 14 September 2007.

[9] Official website of the State Committee on Nationalities and Religion http://www.scnm.gov.ua/control/uk/publish/category?cat_id=131554.

[10] Draft law “On amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On State registration of legal entities and individual businesspeople” (on the procedure for suspending the authority of those involved in economic activities), Registration No. 0913 from 23.11.07, presently with the Committee on Industrial and Regulatory Policy to be prepared for its second reading. It proposes to complete within short timeframes State registration of legal entities and individual businesspeople after which those legal entities which did not submit information for inclusion in the Single State Register on time will be considered to have ceased their existence, with all the ensuing legal consequences.

[11] More detail about this (in Ukrainian) : A. Kholodny: “The Religious Network of Ukraine as of January 2009”, 15 March 2009 http://ukreligieznavstvo.wordpress.com/2009/03/15/релігійна-мережа-україни-на-січень-2009-р.

[12] Unless otherwise stated, the examples are from the US State Department’ International Religious Freedom Report 2008 http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2008/108477.htm .

[13] US State Department’ International Religious Freedom Report 2008 http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2008/108477.htm.

[14] More on this can be found, for example, in “Court defence of human rights: Case law of the European Court of Human Rights in the context of western legal tradition” – Kyiv: Referat, 2006, pp. 392-393.

[15] More information about this can be found in “Crimean Muslims begin protest over obstruction in building a Mosque in Simferopol” http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1201185461; Crimean Prosecutor protests against the actions of the Simferopol City Council http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1201393439 “Muslims win their court case for the Soborna Mosque” http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1207126763 For the last events during the year, see “Spiritual Directorate of the Muslims of the Crimea condemns Supreme Court ruling on Soborna Mosque” http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1230676352&w=Soborna

, http://www.radiosvoboda.org/Content/Article/1113594.html.

[16] “Call from Council of Evangelical Protestant Churches to protect believers from police officers’ arbitrary behaviour” http://www.helsinki.org.ua/index.php?print=1216119108  and first appeal in English http://www.helsinki.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1198756658 .

[17] More detail can be found in the Toledo guiding principles on teaching about religions and beliefs in public schools, prepared by the ODIHR advisory council of experts on freedom of religion or belief, OSCE 2007.

[18] Ministry of Eduction Order from 20 October 2008 N 941.

[19] In English: http://www.osce.org/item/13600.html In Ukrainian: Freedom of Religious and Worship in Ukraine within the context of compliance with European standards / Edited by Volodymyr Yavorsky / Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and the Centre for Legal and Political Studies “SIM”. Kharkiv: Folio, 2005. Available on the UHHRU website at: www.helsinki.org.ua.

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