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08.09.2009

Draft laws tabled on State-Church relations

   

The Institute for Religious Freedom reports that the parliament’s agenda for the coming session includes review of several draft law on issues concerning the spiritual and socially important activities of religious organizations. According to IRF, particular issues are aimed at harmonizing State – Church relations.

By the end of January 2010 the Verkhovna Rada is due to consider around 10 draft normative acts pertaining to freedom of conscience and the activities of religious organizations.

These include:

Draft Law No. 2729 on the founding by religious organizations of educational institutions following State standards of education. As reported here, this or similar draft laws has regularly encountered opposition and it is not clear whether it has any greater chance this time.

Work on Draft Law 3347 on imposing a moratorium on privatisation of property for religious purposes which is due to be returned to religious organizations as the original owners (author: Olha Bondar).

Draft Law No. 5026 on making amendments to Article 5 of the Law “On value-added tax”: this is to exempt from VAT importing of Bibles by religious organizations. The draft law would resolve the problem of tax on Bibles brought into the country, because the technical facilities are not available in Ukraine for producing publications in specific format. This draft law is due to be considered by the profile parliamentary committee on tax and customs policy today, 8 September.

The Verkhovna Rada will also have the second reading of the draft Law “On procedure for organizing and holding peaceful gatherings” (Government Draft Law No. 2450).

Another draft law due to its second reading is No. 2281-1 on amendments to the Criminal Code regarding liability for crimes based on racial, national or religious intolerance (Author – Taras Chornovil).

Despite a negative assessment from leading Churches, Draft Law No. 2419 on amendments to the Law “On freedom of conscience and religious organizations” has ended up on the agenda. This draft law from Hennadiy Moskal is about “preventing activities of religious cults of a destructive natures and totalitarian sects”. It should be noted that the parliamentary committee on cultural and spiritual matters has recommended that the Verkhovna Rada reject Moskal’s draft law on the grounds that the current law “is considerably more democratic than the proposed amendments to it”.

Other draft Verkhovna Rada Resolutions will be presented, as well as some draft laws which have certain bearing on freedom of conscience and faith.

From a report at http://www.irs.in.ua

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