Crimea and religious freedom

Besides the difficulties with citizenship and relationships with mainland Ukraine, many problems in Crimea may arise in delicate areas such as faith.According to official statistics, in the beginning of 2013 in Crimea (Ukraine), there were 2074 religious organizations, among which 682 have the right to engage in religious activities without registering as a legal entity. Another 132 registered religious organizations are in Sevastopol city.


Parliament increases control over religious organizations

Despite agreement with the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, on 16 October the Verkhovna Rada adopted in full draft law No. 10221 which makes major amendments to the Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations.


2011 Report on International Religious Freedom

The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally respected religious freedom. The government did not demonstrate a trend toward either improvement or deterioration in respect for and protection of the right to religious freedom. Local officials at times took sides in disputes between religious organizations. Property restitution problems remained but the government continued to facilitate the return of some communal properties.


Jehovah’s Witnesses face illegal seizure of property

JW Official Website (22.09.2011) / HRWF (03.10.2011) - http://www.hrwf.net - The Religious Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Ukraine faces the illegal seizure of a portion of its property through a landgrab scam commonly known in Ukraine as a property raid. Such scams involve the illegal sale of a property to a third party without the knowledge of the legitimate owners. The sale is then validated by the court and any appeals by the legitimate owners are dismissed by Ukraine's Supreme Economic Court.


US Department of State: The government generally respected religious freedom in law and in practice

US Department of State made public 2010 International Religious Freedom Report. The Annual Report has historically covered a reporting period from July 1of one year through June 30 of the following year. The current Report, however, covers a six-month period from July 1, 2010, through December 31, 2010, because the Department of State is shifting to a calendar year reporting period.


Volyn Police lawlessness against Hare Krishna devotees

Horokhiv police officers detained five men and held them in a police station for five hours, insulting them, taking their fingerprints. If this were not enough, the head of the police station even tried to hit one of them.


Family values the Russian Orthodox Church way?

Olha Moskalenko writes that the Ukrainian authorities declare their concern about strengthening the family and notes that they would seem to think that the ideas of Russian Orthodoxy should become the foundation for this.


Apparent breakthrough on Crimea’s Soborna Mosque

On Tuesday the Simferopol City Council gave its consent for the preparation of a plan for transferring a land site to the Spiritual Directorate of Crimean Muslims in order to build a Soborna or Assembly Mosque. As reported, back in 2004 the Simferopol City Council agreed the location of a 2.7 hectare area of land with the Spiritual Directorate. It was envisaged that the Soborna Mosque which should become the largest in Ukraine and hold up to 3 thousand believers, would be built on Yaltynska St, no. 22.


Is Freedom of Conscience under Threat in Ukraine?

According to the Ukrainian Association for Religious Freedom during Viktor Yanukovych’s first year as President, the level of observance of freedom of faith has fallen noticeably. The President, they state, demonstrates his affiliation to the Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate and this is damaging relations between the authorities and other religious denominations.


Suspected arson attack on Mosque in the Crimea

A Mosque still being built has burned down in the Crimea and the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of the Crimea believes that it was probably the target of an arson attack.


Draft law restricting freedom of conscience tabled in parliament

The draft law “On amendments to some legislative acts on countering extremism” permits restriction of freedom of conscience in cases involving terrorism, extremism and fundamentalism. The document suggests imposing administrative and criminal liability for propaganda of extremism and fundamentalism. The Institute of Religious Freedom in Kyiv notes that the draft law also envisages restrictions on freedom of conscience in cases involving terrorism, extremism and fundamentalism, yet does not provide a definition or the characteristics of such activities.


Ukraine in International Religious Freedom Report 2009

The Government generally respected religious freedom in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the Government during the reporting period. Local officials at times took sides in disputes between religious organizations, and property restitution problems remained; however, the Government continued to facilitate the return of some communal properties. There were reports of societal abuse and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice, including cases of anti-Semitism and anti-Islamism. Various religious organizations continued their work to draw the Government's attention to their issues, resolve differences between various denominations, and discuss relevant legislation.


Opinion of the European Commission for democracy through law (Venice commission) on the draft law on the insertion of amendments on freedom of conscience and religious organisations

By letter dated 5 July 2006, the then Minister of Justice, Mr Holovaty, asked the Venice Commission together with OSCE/ODHIR to examine the draft law on “Freedom of conscience and religious organisations”. Mr G. Malinverni, member of the Venice Commission and Mr L.-L. Christians, Professor at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium were appointed and made their comments on the draft law. They analysed an English translation of the draft law provided by the Ministry of Justice.The following opinion was drawn up on the basis of the comments by Messrs Christians and Malinverni and was adopted by the Venice Commission at its 68th plenary session (Venice, 13-14 October 2006).


Discussion of a draft law on freedom of conscience

On 18 September, at the initiative of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, a meeting took place between representatives of executive bodies, religious and nongovernmental organizations, academics and other interested individuals with experts from the Venice Commission and OSCE / Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. The aim was to discuss a draft law of a new version of the Law “On freedom of conscience and religious organizations”.


SSU forbade the country to the Japanese Buddhist monk Terasava evidently at the request of FSS

Last night at the Polish border the Safety service of Ukraine (SSU) officers took out of train the famous Japanese Buddhist monk Jansey Terasava. At this his valid Ukrainian visa was annulled. Many participants and experts point out that this was done at the request of Russian special services.

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