Draft law on "transitional period" for Donbass includes renaming UOC

The Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine has included the scandalous provision on renaming the UOC in the law on the "transition period" for the Donbass and Crimea. Photo: radiosvoboda.org

The bill "On the State Policy of the Transitional Period" is open for discussion and, as the Ministry of Reintegration assures, "anyone can send their recommendations".

On January 11, 2021, the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine published on its Facebook page a version of the draft law “On the State Policy of the Transitional Period” in the de-occupied territories of the Donbass and Crimea.

In the text of the bill, which can be read here, the initiative to rename the Churches is spelt out as a separate paragraph.

So, Art. 25 (section II, Ch. 3) "Guarantees for the exercise of freedom of conscience and practice of religion" reads:

1. In the de-occupied territories, the right to freedom of conscience, which includes the freedom to have, accept and change a religion or belief of one's choice and the freedom, alone or together with others, to manifest any religion or not to manifest any, to practice religious cults, to openly express and freely disseminate one's own religious or atheistic beliefs, is guaranteed.

2. The state protects the rights and legitimate interests of religious organizations in the de-occupied territories, promotes the establishment of relations of mutual religious and ideological tolerance and respect among citizens who manifest religion or do not manifest it, among believers of different faiths and their religious organizations, takes note of and respects traditions and internal guidelines of religious organizations if they do not contradict the legislation of Ukraine.

3. A religious organization that is directly or as an integral part of another religious organization is included in the structure of a religious organization the leading centre of which is located on the territory of the aggressor state is obliged in its full name specified in its statute (regulation) to reflect the membership of a religious organization outside Ukraine, which it is a member of, by mandatory reproduction in its name of the full statutory name of such a religious organization with the possible addition of the words "in Ukraine" and/or designation of its place in the structure of a foreign religious organization, taking into account the provisions of the Law of Ukraine ‘On freedom of conscience and religious organizations’".

Note that this provision of the draft law "On the State Policy of the Transitional Period" duplicates the scandalous law on the forced renaming of religious organizations, including the UOC, which has been considered by the Constitutional Court since February 11, 2020.

the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine said that the draft law “is under consideration for the submission of proposals by the central executive authorities, state services and foundations, local authorities, scientists, international organizations, public organizations, the expert community, judicial authorities, prosecutors, military administration bodies, the representative Office of the President of Ukraine in the ARC and others”.

“Anyone can also send their recommendations by January 29, 2021, to the email address: [email protected] After collecting the proposals, the document will be finalized and sent for consideration to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in accordance with the rules and procedure and published separately, taking into account the proposals,” the Ministry said in a statement.

As reported earlier, the head of the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience, Elena Bohdan, called the provision on renaming the UOC problematic from the point of view of international law.
 

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