Government urges religious organizations not to stand aside when the case of renaming churches to be in the Constitutional Court
This was proposed for by the head of the Department for Religion, ensuring the right of citizens to freedom of worldview and religion of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers Andriy Yurash at a press conference in Ukrinform for the World Week of interfaith harmony, organized by the All-Ukrainian Council of Religious Associations (AUCRA).
"Next week we will witness how the Constitutional Court will consider the submission by 49 MPs of the previous parliament, who want to repeal the provision of one of the laws adopted on December 20, 2018. And this is a factor that absolutely everyone involved cannot but react to. And here we need a professional assessment and understanding of the consequences of making a particular decision of the Constitutional Court. And here passivity is actually a sign of a crime because the state, nature and dynamics of the development of state-religious relations will depend on this decision," Yurash said.
In his opinion, the passive position of religious communities on this issue cannot be considered "quite adequate".
"If someone wants to weather the storm, including religious organizations, and not to draw certain analytical conclusions from it and not convey it in one way or another, then, of course, this is not the approach that we can recognize as the most appropriate in this situation. And we understand what kind of courts we have and have many confirmations of this," Yurash said.
At the same time, he made it clear that the state authorities would also not stay apart from important decisions regarding interfaith life in Ukraine.
"Religious organizations are waiting for an active position and state bodies. This is an absolutely extremely important message. We understand that. There are many calls, both point-based and system-based. And not responding is a sign that this is either unprofessionalism, or unwillingness, or a conscious return to that scheme and an attempt to challenge the existing realities," Yurash said.
At the same time, he believes that Ukraine is a unique platform for interfaith tolerance, as evidenced by high international ratings of religious freedom in our country.
"On international platforms, the attitude towards Ukraine is as a kind of unique interreligious, interfaith Laboratory of harmony and unity. Over the past 5-6 years, the Religious Freedom Index on a 10-point scale has increased from 4.2% to 3.8% (the lower the index, the higher the level of freedom). And Ukraine is now at the level of Belgium. I think such an index of religious freedom shows that no one in the world and Ukraine has any complaints about the level, harmony, tolerance of state-faith relations," Yurash said.
According to him, attempts to challenge and undermine interfaith peace in Ukraine are systemic and manipulative.
"In recent years, there have been extreme attempts to question this. This is a systematic effort to convince that there are alleged violations against certain religious communities in Ukraine. Obviously, these are manipulative things," the representative of the Cabinet of Ministers summed up.
As reported, on February 11, the Grand Chamber of the Constitutional Court at a plenary session in the form of written proceedings will begin consideration of the case on the constitutional submission of 49 people's deputies regarding the compliance with the Constitution (constitutionality) of the law of Ukraine "On amendments to Article 12 of the law of Ukraine "on freedom of conscience and religious organizations" regarding the name of religious organizations (associations) that are part of the structure (is part of) of a religious organization (Association), the governing center (management) of which is located outside of Ukraine in a state that is recognized by law as having committed military aggression against Ukraine and/or temporarily occupied part of the territory of Ukraine" from December 20, 2018, №2662-VIII.