After rally near Rada, MPs to finalize the bill on freedom of conscience

A rally in Kiev against the adoption of bill No. 0931. Photo: irs.in.ua

Participants in the rally near Ukraine’s Parliament met with the head of the VR committee, who assured that bill No. 0931 would be revised in view of public comments.

On December 17, 2019, under the Verkhovna Rada and the Presidential Office, protest rallies were held against the adoption of draft law No. 0931 “On amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine" (as to harmonization of legislation in the field of preventing and combating discrimination with European Union law),” reports the Institute of Religious Freedom.

The chairman of the VR Human Rights Committee Dmitry Lubinets, addressing the protesters, said: “We invite the Council of Churches to dialogue. The work continues. On the basis of our Committee, we will make a platform, and we can find the wording that will suit absolutely everyone.”

Another rally was also held near the Office of the President. The present religious figures and journalists urged the state officials to elaborate bill No. 0931, taking into account the amendments of the MP Viktor Myalik.

The day before, under pressure from the public, Dmitry Lubinets announced the need to finalize draft law No. 0931 and proposed removing it from consideration. “I ask 0931 to be removed from consideration this week because after the meeting of the Committee we received hundreds of appeals from citizens and public organizations. We want to further discuss this issue in our Committee and then put it to the vote,” he said.

We recall that the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (UCCRO) insisted on the need for a thorough revision of Bill No. 0931. This issue was raised at a meeting of the UCCRO with the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky. Religious leaders of the country asked the head of state to support their amendments to the controversial bill No. 0931 on freedom of conscience and opinion so that the fight against discrimination does not lead to the violation of constitutional rights of citizens.

Earlier, a parliamentary committee rejected the Council of Churches’ amendments aimed at protecting freedom of conscience.

On November 14, 2019, the Committee on Human Rights, De-Occupation and Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories in Donetsk, Luhansk Regions and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, national minorities and interethnic relations approved for the second reading the text of draft law No. 0931 "On amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine" (as to harmonization of legislation in the field of preventing and combating discrimination with European Union law).

Bill No. 0931 provides for punishment for “discrimination” in the form of fines from ₴ 3,400 to ₴ 11,900 for violating the law in the field of preventing and combating discrimination.

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