Call for public discussion on any changes to freedom of conscience legislation
The Heads of Ukrainian Churches and Religious Organizations have sent an appeal to the Ministries of Culture and Justice asking for proper public discussion of the draft Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations.
They are also initiating dialogue with the Ministry of Culture regarding the draft law on the return of buildings of worship to religious organizations. They expect the Ministry of Justice to hold consultations with the public regarding the planned legislative changes for introducing new procedure for registering religious organizations.
They stress the need for public discussion since the amendments “directly affect the enjoyment and protection of the constitutional rights of Ukrainian citizens to freedom of faith and worldview”.
They note that the given draft laws “have significant impact on the conditions for carrying out religious activities which directly touches on spiritual, social and other interests of the Churches and Religious Organizations”.
They ask for consultation with the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, as well as public discussion.
This call for discussion is endorsed by the Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, the Orthodox Church under the Kyiv Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches of Evangelical Baptists, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches of Evangelical Pentecostals Christians, the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church and the Association of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine.
In accordance with Item 7 of the Rules of Procedure on Holding Public Consultations on the formation and implementation of State Policy from 3.11.2010, where a proposal to hold public consultations come from at least three civic institutions, the consultations must be held.
In an earlier appeal to the President, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations were unanimous that “an issue as important as revision of legislation on freedom of conscience should not be considered hastily nor in the present conditions of transformation of the political system”.