Return to the list
Prev Next

Draft of the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on the Protection of the Right to Freedom of Thought and Religion"

Draft of the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine  on the Protection of the Right to Freedom of Thought and Religion"

Adoption of this Law will allow to form the necessary basis and appropriate models of behavior that will reduce both the risks of religious confrontation and the use of hate speech, and - creates a nonviolent algorithm to protect their rights to freedom of thought and religion through the establishment of a religious ombudsman.

Contents:
Draft is introduced by the People's Deputy of Ukraine

LAW OF UKRAINE

On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on the Protection of the Right to Freedom of Thought and Religion

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine rules:

I. To amend the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations in Ukraine” (The Official Bulletin of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukrainian SSR (BVR), 1991, № 25, Art. 283):

  1. Part 9 of Article 5 shall be revised to read as follows:

    "Religious organizations are prohibited from interfering in the activities of other religious organizations, in any form preaching a change in the constitutional order by force, violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state, undermining its security, from illegal seizure of state power, propaganda of war, violence, incitement to ethnic, racial, racial, religious enmity, encroachment on human rights and freedoms, public health, intolerance of non-believers and believers of other religions and other religious organizations.";

  2. The first sentence of Part 1 of Article 6 after the words "secular nature" shall be supplemented with the words:

    "and provides for the formation of tolerant attitudes towards citizens who do not profess religion, believers of other religions and other religious organizations."

  3. Part 3 of Article 6 shall be supplemented with the second sentence in the following wording:

    "Such training takes place only with the voluntary consent of the student (or his parents or other legal representatives)."

  4. Part 5 of Article 6 shall be revised to read as follows:

    "Teachers of religious beliefs and religious preachers are obliged to educate their students in a spirit of tolerance and respect for non-religious citizens and for believers of other religions and other religious organizations".

  5. To introduce new Article 30-1 to read as follows:

    "Article 30-1. Institute of Religious Ombudsman

    1. The purpose of the Religious Ombudsman is to guarantee the right to freedom of thought and religion to the citizens of Ukraine, protection and realization of this right. A Religious Ombudsman is guided in its activity by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, as well as by the regulations on the religious ombudsman approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

    2. A Religious Ombudsman is an official who is entrusted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine with the task of protecting the rights to freedom of thought and religion.

    3. A Religious Ombudsman shall be appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for a term of five years without the right to reappointment.

    4. In accordance with the tasks assigned to it, a Religious Ombudsman shall have the right to:

      • consider submitted appeals concerning violations of the right to freedom of thought and religion and check the facts stated therein;
      • monitor the information space of Ukraine in order to identify violations of the right to freedom of thought and religion and public statements aimed at inciting religious hatred;
      • analyze compliance with and application of legislation on the protection of rights to freedom of thought and religion;
      • receive from religious organizations, executive bodies implementing state policy in the field of religion, law enforcement agencies, public associations and political parties the information necessary for the performance of their functions, including information with limited access;
      • demand from officials and officers of state authorities, local self-government bodies, enterprises, institutions, public associations and political parties, organizations, regardless of the form of ownership, assistance in conducting verifications of facts set forth in appeals on violations of rights to freedom of thought and religion;
      • involve advisers and consultants of the Religious Ombudsman, representatives of public authorities, local governments, associations of citizens, as well as experts, scientists and professional, including on a contractual basis, in consideration of appeals;
      • based on the results of appeals consideration and/or inspections, provide recommendations to religious organizations, public associations, political parties, state bodies, local governments, demand that they stop violating and/or restore violated rights or legitimate interests of religious organizations and individual citizens of Ukraine, related to freedom of thought and religion;
      • direct to religious organizations, public associations, political parties of state bodies, local self-government bodies submissions on conducting official investigations, inform law enforcement bodies on the revealed facts of legislative violation;
      • attend religious organizations without hindrance, without interfering with worship, religious rites, ceremonies or the educational process in religious organizations;
      • take part in meetings of state bodies, local self-government bodies on issues within its competence;

ІІ. To amend Article 31 of the Law of Ukraine “On Education” (The Official Bulletin of the Verkhovna Rada (BVR), 2017, № 38-9, Art. 380):

  1. To supplement Part 1 with the second and third sentences to read as follows:

    "The secular nature of education presupposes the formation of students' tolerant attitude to citizens who do not profess religion, to believers of other religions and other religious organizations, the ability to coexist in a multicultural and multi-religious Ukrainian society. Values of freedom of thought and religion and tolerance of representatives of other thoughts and religions shall be shaped through endeavor training (integration) in subjects of the social-humanitarian cycle and autonomous special courses of the elective part of the curriculum".

  2. Part 4 shall be supplemented with the second sentence to read as follows:

    "Involvement of students in activities organized by religious organizations provided for in the school program shall be based solely on the voluntary willingness of students (or parents or legal representatives of the student) and equal access for all religious organizations of the local community".

ІІІ. Final Provisions

  1. This Law shall enter into force on January 1, 2023.

  2. For the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine:

    1. to take into account the provisions of this Law when developing a draft law on the State Budget of Ukraine for 2023;
    2. within three months from the date of publication of this Law:

      • to develop and approve regulations on the Religious Ombudsman;
      • to bring their regulations in line with this Law;
      • to ensure that ministries and other central executive authorities will bring their regulations in line with this Law.

Head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine


Comparative table to the draft of the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on the Protection of the Right to Freedom of Thought and Religion"

The content of the provision (norm) of the current legislative act Content of relevant provision of the (norm) draft act
LAW OF UKRAINE
On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations in Ukraine
(The Official Bulletin of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukrainian SSR (BVR), 1991, No. 25, Art. 283)
Article 5. Separation of the church (religious organizations) from the state
In Ukraine, the implementation of state policy on religion and the church belongs exclusively to the state of Ukraine.

A religious organization should not interfere in the activities of other religious organizations, in any form preach enmity, intolerance to non-believers and believers of other religions.
A religious organization is obliged to comply with the requirements of current legislation and law and order.
Article 5. Separation of the church (religious organizations) from the state

In Ukraine, the implementation of state policy on religion and the church belongs exclusively to the state of Ukraine. …
Religious organization is prohibited from interfering in the activities of other religious organizations, in any form preaching a change in the constitutional order by force, violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state, undermining its security, from illegal seizure of state power, propaganda of war, violence, incitement to ethnic, racial, religious enmity, encroachment on human rights and freedoms, public health, intolerance of non-believers and believers of other religions and other religious organizations.
A religious organization is obliged to comply with the requirements of current legislation and law and order.
Article 6. Separation of school from church (religious organizations)
The state educational system in Ukraine is separated from the church (religious organizations) and bears a secular nature. Access to different types and levels of education is provided to citizens regardless of their religion.

Citizens can study religious doctrine and receive religious education individually or together with others, freely choosing the language of education.
Religious organizations have the right, in accordance with their internal guidelines, to establish educational institutions and groups for the religious education of children and adults, as well as to conduct education in other forms in the premises owned by them or provided for use.
Teachers of religious beliefs and religious preachers are obliged to educate their students in a spirit of tolerance and respect for non-religious citizens and for believers of other religions.
Article 6. Separation of school from church (religious organizations)
The state education system in Ukraine is separated from the church (religious organizations), has a secular nature and promotes the formation of tolerant attitudes towards non-religious people, believers of other religions and other religious organizations. Access to different types and levels of education is provided to citizens regardless of their religion.

Citizens can study religious doctrine and receive religious education individually or together with others, freely choosing the language of education. Such training takes place only with the voluntary consent of the student (or his parents or other legal representatives).
Religious organizations have the right, in accordance with their internal guidelines, to establish educational institutions and groups for the religious education of children and adults, as well as to conduct education in other forms in the premises owned by them or provided for use.
Teachers of religious beliefs and religious preachers are obliged to educate their students in a spirit of tolerance and respect for non-religious citizens and for believers of other religions and other religious organizations.
No Article Article 30-1. Institute of Religious Ombudsman
  1. The purpose of the Religious Ombudsman is to guarantee the right to freedom of thought and religion to the citizens of Ukraine, protection and realization of this right. A Religious Ombudsman is guided in its activity by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, as well as by the regulations on the religious ombudsman approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
  2. A Religious Ombudsman is an official who is entrusted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine with the task of protecting the rights to freedom of thought and religion.
  3. A Religious Ombudsman shall be appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for a term of five years without the right to reappointment.
  4. In accordance with the tasks assigned to it, a Religious Ombudsman shall have the right to:
    • consider submitted appeals concerning violations of the right to freedom of thought and religion and check the facts stated therein;
    • monitor the information space of Ukraine in order to identify violations of the right to freedom of thought and religion and public statements aimed at inciting religious hatred;
    • analyze compliance with and application of legislation on the protection of rights to freedom of thought and religion;
    • receive from religious organizations, executive bodies implementing state policy in the field of religion, law enforcement agencies, public associations and political parties the information necessary for the performance of their functions, including information with limited access;
    • demand from officials and officers of state authorities, local self-government bodies, enterprises, institutions, public associations and political parties, organizations, regardless of the form of ownership, assistance in conducting verifications of facts set forth in appeals on violations of rights to freedom of thought and religion;
    • involve advisers and consultants of the Religious Ombudsman, representatives of public authorities, local governments, associations of citizens, as well as experts, scientists and professional, including on a contractual basis, in consideration of appeals;
    • based on the results of appeals consideration and/or inspections, provide recommendations to religious organizations, public associations, political parties, state bodies, local governments, demand that they stop violating and/or restore violated rights or legitimate interests of religious organizations and individual citizens of Ukraine, related to freedom of thought and religion;
    • direct to religious organizations, public associations, political parties of state bodies, local self-government bodies submissions on conducting official investigations, inform law enforcement bodies on the revealed facts of legislative violation;
    • attend religious organizations without hindrance, without interfering with worship, religious rites, ceremonies or the educational process in religious organizations;
    • take part in meetings of state bodies, local self-government bodies on issues within its competence;
    • appeal to public authorities, local governments, law enforcement agencies regarding the identified facts of violation of the human right to freedom of thought and religion;
    • provide consultations to citizens of Ukraine, religious organizations, state authorities and local self-government, public organizations and political parties on protection of the rights to freedom of thought and religion;
    • represent the interests of the person in court.
  5. Activities of the Religious Ombudsman shall be ensured by the service of the Religious Ombudsman, the procedure for which is determined by the regulations on the Religious Ombudsman.
  6. The procedure and terms for appealing to the Religious Ombudsman shall be approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
LAW OF UKRAINE
"On Education"
(The Official Bulletin of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukrainian SSR (BVR), 2017, No. 38-39, Art. 380)
Article 31. Particular Features of the Relations Between Educational Institutions and Political Parties (Associations) and Religious Organizations
1. State and municipal educational institutions are separated from the church (religious organizations) and have a secular nature.
...
4. The management of educational institutions, pedagogical, scientific and pedagogical workers and researchers, state authorities and local self-government bodies, and their officials are prohibited to involve students in activities organized by religious organizations (except for educational institutions specified in part two of this Article) or political parties (associations), except for the measures provided by the educational program.
...
Article 31. Particular Features of the Relations Between Educational Institutions and Political Parties (Associations) and Religious Organizations
1. State and municipal educational institutions are separated from the church (religious organizations) and have a secular nature. The secular nature of education presupposes the formation of students' tolerant attitude to citizens who do not profess religion, to believers of other religions and other religious organizations, the ability to coexist in a multicultural and multi-religious Ukrainian society. Values of freedom of thought and religion and tolerance of representatives of other thoughts and religions shall be shaped through endeavor training (integration) in subjects of the social-humanitarian cycle and autonomous special courses of the elective part of the curriculum.
...
4. The management of educational institutions, pedagogical, scientific and pedagogical workers and researchers, state authorities and local self-government bodies, and their officials are prohibited to involve students in activities organized by religious organizations (except for educational institutions specified in part two of this Article) or political parties (associations), except for the measures provided by the educational program. Involvement of students in activities organized by religious organizations provided for in the school program shall be based solely on the voluntary willingness of students (or parents or legal representatives of the student) and equal access for all religious organizations of the local community.
...

People's Deputy of Ukraine


Explanatory note

to the draft law of Ukraine "On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on the Protection of the Right to Freedom of Worldview and Religion»

  1. Justification of the need to adopt a law

    Article 35 of the Constitution of Ukraine establishes the right to freedom of worldview and religion in our state. "This right includes the freedom to profess any religion or not to profess any, to freely conduct individual or collective religious cults and ritual rites, and to conduct religious activities," the provisions of this article say.

    The unhindered practice (or non-religion) of any religion implies the need to take into account the rights to freedom of religion and the worldview of others. That is why religious tolerance plays a significant role for any society, including Ukrainian ones. Its dissemination in society is a task for any state that seeks to become legal, defend the values of humanism and peaceful cohabitation of its citizens.

    According to various opinion polls (in particular, a survey conducted by the Razumkov Center from October 1 to October 8, 2020), more than two-thirds of Ukrainians consider themselves believers (67.9%). Another 13% are those who hesitate between faith and atheism. Moreover, it is the church that occupies one of the leading places in terms of trust among Ukrainians in all opinion polls. A high level of trust indicates that all information content that comes from a church (religious organization) affects the beliefs of believers. The word of the church is significant, and therefore it can actively influence social stability in Ukraine.

    But it has another side. Unfortunately, religious organizations often try to use them for political and sometimes geopolitical purposes. This harms both religious organizations and believers themselves, and directly poses a threat to the cohabitation of Ukrainian citizens and risks to our society. And politicians use high confidence in the church in order to form an intolerant attitude towards other believers who are in a different electoral niche.

    There is a need, on the one hand, to protect religious organizations from politicization. On the other hand, it is necessary to strengthen the role and spread the values of religious tolerance. It is religious tolerance today – with so many believers and such trust in religious organizations – that is the key to restoring stability and peace in the interior of Ukraine. Moreover, this is still required by global trends today. In times of globalization, the interpenetration of different cultures, constant contacts of carriers of different religions, religious tolerance is the key to the coexistence of representatives of different cultures and different religious movements.

  2. Goals and objectives of the adoption of the law

    The purpose and objective of the draft law is to strengthen the system of protection of rights to freedom of worldview and religion in Ukraine through the creation of effective institutions for defending relevant rights and the formation of an appropriate tolerant culture among the younger generation.

  3. General characteristics and main provisions of the draft law

    The draft law provides for amendments to two laws of Ukraine: the law of Ukraine "On Education" and the law of Ukraine "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations".

    The law "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations" is proposed to be amended as follows:

    1. Establish the institution of a religious Ombudsman – by introducing a new article 30-1 to the mentioned Law of Ukraine. The religious Ombudsman receives a number of functions, the purpose of which is to guarantee the right to freedom of worldview and religion for citizens of Ukraine, to protect and create conditions for the exercise of this right. To this end, the institution of the religious ombudsman receives a number of functions, in particular:

      • accept citizens' appeals and respond to them, demand the elimination of offenses or apply to the relevant institutions, including law enforcement agencies;

      • monitoring for the implementation of human rights in the sphere of freedom of worldview and religion, including inciting religious hatred;

      • analyze compliance with legislation in the relevant area;

      • provide advice to citizens of Ukraine, religious and other organizations on the protection of the rights to freedom of worldview and religion;

      • represent the interests of a person in court.

    2. to Article 5 "separation of the church (religious organizations) from the state", which establish clearer criteria for prohibitions – in the activities and preaching of values by a religious organization. In particular, it is proposed to prohibit interfering in the affairs of another organization and preaching changes in the constitutional order by force, violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state, undermining its security, illegally seizing state power, propaganda of war, violence, inciting interethnic, racial, religious hatred, encroachment on human rights and freedoms. Also, the amendments to this article provide for a ban on preaching intolerance not only to other faiths, but also to other religious organizations;

    3. to Article 6 "Article 6. Separation of the school from the Church (Religious Organizations), which establish that the secular nature of education, among other things, provides for the formation of a tolerant attitude among Ukrainian citizens towards representatives of all religions in Ukraine.

      Amendments to the law of Ukraine "on education" provide for amendments to Article 31 "features of relations between educational institutions and political parties (associations) and religious organizations", which:

      1. it is specified that the secular nature of education includes the formation of values of tolerance towards representatives of other beliefs and the ability to cohabit in a multicultural environment. It is also established that tolerance among applicants for education is formed through all subjects of social and humanitarian direction and through special courses of the variable part of the curriculum;
      2. it is stipulated that religious activities provided for in the curriculum should be carried out exclusively on the basis of voluntariness for applicants for education and on the basis of equality for all religious organizations that exist in the relevant territorial community.
    4. State of the regulatory framework in this area of Legal Regulation

      The main Regulatory Act regulating this area is the Constitution of Ukraine. This area is also regulated by the laws of Ukraine "on freedom of conscience and religious organizations" and "on education".

      The adoption of the law will not require amendments to other laws of Ukraine.

    5. Financial and economic justification

      The draft law at the time of introduction does not require additional expenditures from the state budget of Ukraine for the current year.

      At the same time, it requires appropriate forecast calculations regarding the functioning of the Institute of the religious Ombudsman and its service by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in order to amend the relevant laws of Ukraine on the state budget.

      The implementation of these innovations will require additional expenditures from the state budget of Ukraine starting in 2023. Therefore, paragraph 1 of Part 2 of Section III "Final provisions" of the draft law of Ukraine "on amendments to certain laws of Ukraine concerning the protection of the right to freedom of worldview and religion" gives the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine a corresponding instruction when preparing the draft law on the state budget of Ukraine for 2023 to provide for the necessary expenditures from the state budget of Ukraine related to the entry into force of this law.

    6. Forecast of social-economic and other consequences of the adoption of the law

      The adoption of this law will make it possible to spread the values of religious tolerance in Ukraine both by establishing an Institute for the protection of the rights of Ukrainian citizens to freedom of worldview and religion, and by forming an appropriate culture of behavior among Ukrainian citizens – through appropriate training programs for applicants for education.

      The adoption of this law will make it possible to form the necessary basis and appropriate models of behavior that will reduce both the risks of religious confrontations and the use of hate speech, as well as create a nonviolent algorithm for protecting one's rights to freedom of worldview and religion through the establishment of the institution of a religious Ombudsman.

People's deputy of Ukraine