Ukraine: 50+ Deputies call for international examination of bill to ban the UOC

Kiev, November 28, 2023

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To date, 53 deputies of the Verkhovna Rada have signed an appeal to the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, demanding that Bill No. 8371, with which the authorities aim to ban the Orthodox Church, be sent to the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters.

The deputies ask that the European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission, examine the bill to determine whether it complies with European standards and values in the field of law, reports the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s Information-Education Department.

Recall that the bill was approved in its first reading last month. It awaits a second reading before passing into law.

In their letter, the deputies note that the bill is a threat to the freedom of religion, which is supposed to be guaranteed by the Ukrainian constitution and legislation.

In particular, “the document is once again aimed solely at interfering in the internal activities of religious organizations and violating people’s right to freedom of religion, which is fundamental and guaranteed by the state.”

The appeal affirms that the state has no right to tell its citizens which church to attend or to interfere in the internal affairs of a religious organization. To do so violates the constitution and the norms of international law, the deputies write.

The appeal also provides an extensive analysis of all of the points of the bill that contradict Ukrainian and international legislation.

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