UOC Law Dept: We ask the President to veto Bill #5309

The Law Department of the UOC stressed that the bill No 5309 is unconstitutional

The bill No. 5309 discriminates millions of believing citizens of Ukraine on the religious ground, lawyers said.

The Law Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church appealed to President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko with a request to veto the bill No. 5309 adopted on December 20, 2018, reported the Information and Education Department of the UOC.

This draft law violates the right to freedom of religion and discriminates on the religious ground millions of believers of citizens, warned the statement issued by the Law Dept.

“We consider this law to be unconstitutional and intend to protect our rights by all legal means. We appeal to the President of Ukraine to veto this law,” the Law Department of the UOC said.

The bill #5309 is contrary to the norms of the Constitution of Ukraine, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, stressed the department.

“Ukraine being a secular state, makes it impossible to establish any advantages or restrictions at the legislative level for certain religious associations,” the lawyers reminded.

They reported that the MPs, who adopted this bill, intend to apply it against the UOC.

“This draft law does not refer to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church but as it is known from public statements it is targeted against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in favor of the newly formed religious structure, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which wants to assign this name to itself,” the Law Dept noted.

They added that the UOC is the Church of the Ukrainian people being founded by the Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and was registered in accordance with Ukrainian legislation, while its center is located in Kiev.

Recall, bill No. 5309 foresees amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” regarding the name of religious organizations (associations) that are included into (form part of) a religious organization (association) whose governing center (administration) is located outside Ukraine in the country that, according to the Law of Ukraine, is recognized as carrying out military aggression against Ukraine and/or temporarily occupied part of the territory of Ukraine.”

On September 7, 2018, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in his address to the MPs of the Verkhovna Rada stated that he would not sign a bill in which the candidatures of bishops would have to be coordinated with state bodies. At the same time, he mentioned the bill No. 5309 and recalled that "the Ukrainian state is separated from the Church," although "it has the right to have its Local Church.

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