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Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations,

(Law no. 987-XII of 23 April 1991 on the amended 1996).

SECTION I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Art. 1. (Objectives of the Law)

The objectives of this law are as follows:

- to guarantee the right to the freedom of conscience to citizens of Ukraine and the exercise of this right;

- to ensure the social justice, equality, protection of rights and lawful interests of citizens regardless of their attitude towards the religion according to the Constitution of Ukraine (888-09), the Declaration of the State Sovereignty of Ukraine (55-12) and norms of the international law recognized by Ukraine;

- to define the duties of the state in respect of the religious organizations;

- to define the duties of the religious organizations in respect of the state and the society;

- to overcome the negative of the state's policy towards the religion and the church;

- to guarantee favorable conditions for the development of the public moral and humanism, the public accord and the co-operation among the people regardless of their world outlook or denomination;

Art. 2. (Legislation of Ukraine on the Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations)

In Ukraine, all the legal relations related to the freedom of conscience and the activities of religious organizations shall be regulated by the legislation of Ukraine.

The legislation of Ukraine on the freedom of conscience and religious organizations consists of this Law and other legislative acts of Ukraine issued in accordance herewith.

Art. 3. (The Right to the Freedom of Conscience)

Every citizen in Ukraine is guaranteed the right to the freedom of conscience. This right includes the freedom to have, adopt and change the religion or convictions by own choice and the freedom to profess any or no religion personally or together with others, to celebrate religious worship, to openly express and freely disseminate own religious or atheistic convictions.

Nobody may define obligatory convictions and world outlook. No duress is allowed, during citizen's determination of the own attitude towards the religion, the confession or the refusal to profess any religion, the participation or the non-participation in public worship, religious rites and ceremonies, the religious teaching.

Parents or persons substituting them shall be entitled, subject to the mutual consent, to educate their children in accordance with their own convictions and the attitude towards the religion.

The exercise of the freedom to profess the religion or convictions is subject to only those restrictions, which are necessary to protect the public safety and order, the life, health and moral, as well as the rights and freedoms of other citizens established by law and complying with international obligations of Ukraine.

Nobody shall be entitled to require clergymen to disclose the information received by them in the course of the confession by the faithful.

Art. 4. (Equality of Citizens Regardless of Their Attitude towards Religion)

Citizens of Ukraine shall be equal before the law and enjoy equal rights in all spheres of the economic, political, social, and cultural life regardless of their attitude towards the religion. The citizen's attitude towards the religion shall not be indicated in official documents.

Any direct or indirect limitation of rights, any establishment of direct or indirect preferences for citizens depending on their attitude towards the religion, as well as the exasperation of enmity and hate, or the offence of citizen's feelings related thereto shall result in the responsibility provided for by law.

Nobody may evade the performance of constitutional duties for the reason of the religious convictions. The substitution of one duty for another duty for the reason of convictions shall be allowed only in cases provided for by the legislation of Ukraine.

Art. 5. (Separation of the Church (Religious Organizations) from the State)

In Ukraine, the state policy towards the religion and the church shall be pursued solely by Ukraine.

The church (religious organizations) in Ukraine shall be separated from the state.

The state shall protect the rights and lawful interests of religious organizations, foster the establishment of the mutual religious and ideological tolerance and the respect among citizens, who profess the religion or do not do it, among the faithful of different denominations and their religious organizations; take into consideration and respect the traditions and internal directions of religious organizations, unless they contradict the current legislation.

The state shall not interfere in the activities of the religious organizations exercised within the framework of the law, finance the activities of any organizations, established on the basis of the attitude towards the religion.

All the religions, denominations and religious organizations shall be equal before the law. The establishment of any preferences or restrictions for any religion, denomination or religious organization with respect to others shall not be allowed.

Religious organizations shall not perform functions of the state.

Religious organizations shall enjoy the right to take part in the public life and use the mass media on an equal basis with other public associations.

Religious organizations shall not participate in activities of political parties nor shall they provide the political parties with financial assistance, nor suggest candidates to the state authorities, nor campaign for or finance election campaigns of candidates to such authorities. The clergy shall enjoy the right to the participation in the political life on an equal basis with all citizens.

A religious organization shall not interfere in activities of other religious organizations, advocate the enmity, the intolerance towards the non-believers and the faithful of other denominations.

A religious organization shall abide by requirements of the current law and order.

Art. 6. (Separation of the School from the Church (Religious Organizations))

The state education system in Ukraine is separated from the church (religious organizations) and secular. The access to various types and levels of the education shall be granted to all citizens regardless of their attitude towards the religion.

No restriction of the scientific research, including the research financed by the state, no popularization of the results thereof or the inclusion thereof in general education programs on the basis of the compliance or non-compliance with provisions of any religion or atheism shall be allowed.

Citizens may learn the religion and receive religious education either individually or together with others with a free choice of the language of the indoctrination.

Religious organizations shall be entitled to establish educational institutions and groups for the religious indoctrination of children and adults in accordance with their internal procedures, as well as to conduct the indoctrination in other forms using to this effect the rooms owned by or provided to religious organizations.

The instructors of the religion and the religious preachers shall educate their students in the spirit of tolerance and respect towards the citizens, who do not profess any religion, and towards the faithful of other denominations.

SECTION II

RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS IN UKRAINE

Art. 7. (Religious Organizations)

Religious organizations in Ukraine shall be established in order to satisfy religious needs of citizens, to profess and disseminate the faith and shall act in accordance with their hierarchical and institutional structure, elect, appoint and replace the personnel on the basis of their statutes (regulations).

Religious organizations in Ukraine shall be understood as religious communities, administrations and centers, cloisters, religious fraternities, missionary associations (missions), theological educational establishments, as well as associations consisting of the said religious organizations. The religious associations shall be represented by their centers (administrations).

This Law shall not apply to other organizations established on the basis of the religion.

Art. 8. (Religious Community)

A religious community shall be a local religious organization of the faithful citizens of the same cult, denomination, direction, trend or persuasion, which united on a voluntary basis to satisfy the religious needs together.

The state shall recognize the right of a religious community to be subordinated in canonical and organizational issues to any religious centers (administrations) acting in Ukraine and abroad, as well as to change such subordination freely.

It shall not be obligatory to inform the state authorities about the establishment of a religious community.

Art. 9. (Religious Administrations and Centers)

Religious administrations and centers shall act on the basis of their respective statutes (regulations) to be registered according to the procedure established by Article 14 hereof.

Religious organizations, whose administering centers are located outside of Ukraine, may abide by instructions of these centers while exercising their activities, provided that the legislation of Ukraine is not violated in this case.

The relations between the state and religious administrations and centers, including those located abroad, which are not governed by law, shall be regulated on the basis of arrangements between such administrations and centers and state authorities.

Art. 10. (Cloisters, Religious Fraternities and Missions)

In accordance with their registered statutes (regulations), religious administrations and centers shall be entitled to establish cloisters, religious fraternities, missionary associations (missions), which shall act on the basis of their statutes (regulations) to be registered according to the procedure established by Article 14 hereof.

Monasteries and religious fraternities may also be established according to the procedure provided for hereby for the establishment of religious communities with the subsequent registration of their statutes (regulations).

Art. 11. (Theological Educational Institutions)

In accordance with their registered statutes (regulations), religious administrations and centers shall be entitled to establish theological educational institutions for the training of the clergy and ministers of other religious specialties required by them. The theological educational institutions shall act on the basis of their statutes (regulations) to be registered according to the procedure established by Article 14 hereof.

The citizens being educated in the highest and secondary theological educational institutions shall enjoy the same rights and privileges in respect of the deferment of the military service, the taxation, the inclusion of the time of education in the seniority according to the procedure and on the conditions established for students of the state educational institutions.

Art. 12. (Statutes (Regulations) of Religious Organizations)

A statute (regulations) of a religious organization, which defines the legal capacity of it according to the civil law, shall be subject to the registration according to the procedure established by Article 14 hereof.

The statute (regulations) of a religious organization shall be adopted by the general meeting of the faithful citizens or at religious congresses or conferences.

The statute (regulations) of a religious organization shall contain the data on:

1) the type of the religious organization and its denominational affiliation and location;

2) the place of the religious organization in the organizational structure of the religious association;

3) the property status of the religious organization;

4) the right of the religious organization to establish enterprises, mass media, other religious organizations and educational institutions;

5) the procedure of the introduction of changes and amendments in the statute (regulations) of the religious organization;

6) the procedure of the settlement of property and other issues in case of the cessation of activities of the religious organization

The statute (regulations) may also contain other information related to the specific features of activities of the given religious organization.

The statute (regulations) of the religious organization shall not contradict the current legislation.

The documents, which determine the denominational activities and settle other internal issues of the religious organization, shall not be subject to the registration by state authorities.

Art. 13. (Religious Organization as a Legal Entity)

The religious organization shall be considered a legal entity upon the registration of its statute (regulations).

The religious organization as a legal entity shall enjoy the rights and have the obligations in accordance with the current legislation and its statute (regulations).

Art. 14. (Registration of Statutes (Regulations) of Religious Organizations)

For a religious organization to become legally capable, at least ten citizens, who established such organization and attained the age of 18 years, shall submit the application and the statute (regulations) for the registration to the Oblast, Kyiv and Sevastopol city state administrations or, in the Republic of Crimea, to the Government of the Republic of Crimea.

Religious centers, administrations, monasteries, religious fraternities, missions and theological educational institutions shall submit the statute (regulations) to Ukraine's state authority in charge of religion affairs.

The registering authority shall consider the application, the statute (regulations) of the religious organization and make the relevant decision within one month and notify the applicants thereof in writing within ten days.

In the necessary cases, the authority registering statutes (regulations) of religious organizations may request the opinion of the local state administration, the executive committee of a village, town, city council of people's deputies, as well as that of specialists. In this case, the decision on the registration of statutes (regulations) of religious organizations shall be made within three months.

The excision of the time for the decision on the registration of statutes (regulations) of religious organizations established hereby may be appealed against according to the procedure provided for by the civil procedural law of Ukraine.

The changes in and amendments to statutes (regulations) of religious organizations shall be subject to the registration according to the same procedure and the same time frame as the registration of statutes (regulations).

The representatives of the religious organization may take part in the consideration of the issue of the registration of the statute (regulations) with deliberative vote, if necessary.

Art. 15. (Denial to Register the Statute (Regulations) of the Religious Organization)

The registration of the statute (regulations) of a religious organization may be denied, if its statute (regulations) or the activities contradict the current legislation.

The motivated decision to deny the registration of the statute (regulations) of a religious registration shall be communicated to applicants within ten days. This decision may be appealed against in the court according to the procedure provided for by the civil procedural law of Ukraine.

Art. 16. (Termination of Activities of a Religious Organization)

The activities of a religious organization may be terminated in connection with its reorganization (division, merger, accession) or liquidation.

The reorganization or liquidation of a religious organization shall take place in accordance with its internal procedures. The registration of statutes (regulations) of religious organizations newly established after the reorganization shall be performed according to the procedure established by Article 14 hereof.

In case of the violation of provisions hereof and other legislative acts of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by a religious organization being a legal entity, its activities may also be terminated by a court decision.

The activities of a religious organization may be terminated by a court procedure only in the following cases:

1) the perpetration of actions by a religious organization, which are prohibited by Articles 3, 5, and 17 hereof;

2) the combination of the ritual and preaching activities of a religious organization with the encroachment upon the life, health, freedom, and dignity of a person;

3) the systematic violation by a religious organization of the procedure of holding public religious events established by law (divine services, rites, ceremonies, processions, etc.);

4) the coercion of citizens into the non-performance of constitutional duties or the perpetration of actions, which are accompanied by gross violations of the public order or the encroachment upon the rights and the property of the state, public or religious organizations.

The court shall consider the case of the termination of activities of a religious organization in the litigious procedure as provided for by the Civil Procedural Code of Ukraine upon application of the authority entitled to register the statute of the specific religious organization or the public prosecutor.

SECTION III

PROPERTY STATUS OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS

Art. 17. (Use of Property Owned by the State, Public Organizations or Citizens)

Religious organizations shall be entitled to use for their needs the buildings and property provided to them on a contractual basis by the state, public organizations or citizens.

The state-owned temple buildings and property shall be transferred for the gratuitous use by or returned into the ownership of religious organizations by organizations, in which balance sheet such temple buildings and property are included, on the basis of decisions of Oblast, Kyiv and Sevastopol city state administrations and, in the Republic of Crimea, the Government of the Republic of Crimea.

The state-owned temple building and property may be provided for the alternate use to two or more religious communities subject to their mutual consent. Lacking such consent, the state authority shall determine the procedure of the use of the temple building and the property by concluding separate contracts with each community.

A temple building and other property being of historical, artistic or other cultural significance shall be handed over to religious organizations and used by them in compliance with the valid rules of the protection and use of the historical and cultural monuments.

The applications for the transfer of temple buildings and property into the ownership of or for the gratuitous use by religious organizations shall be considered within one month with subsequent notification of the applicants of the results of such consideration in writing.

Religious organizations shall have the preferential right to the temple buildings with land plots required for the maintenance of such buildings. The religious organizations shall use the land according to the procedure established by the Land Code of Ukraine and other legislative acts of Ukraine.

The contracts for the use of temple and other buildings, and property by religious organizations may be rescinded or terminated according to the procedure and for the reasons provided for by the civil legislation of Ukraine.

The unauthorized seizure of temple buildings or the appropriation of the cult property shall not be allowed.

The decisions of state authorities on the issues of the ownership and use of temple buildings and property may be appealed against at the court according to the procedure provided for by the Civil Procedural Code of Ukraine.

Art. 18. (Ownership of Religious Organizations)

Religious organizations shall own, use and dispose of the property, which they own.

The religious organizations may own buildings, cult objects, industrial, social and charitable facilities, transport, monies and other property required to support their activities.

Religious organizations shall have the title to the property acquired or created by them at the expense of own funds, donated by individuals, organizations or handed over by the state, as well as acquired on other grounds provided for by law.

Religious organizations may also own the property located outside of Ukraine.

The religious organizations shall be entitled to apply for and receive the voluntary financial and other contributions.

Financial and property donations, as well as other revenues of religious organizations shall not be subject to taxation.

Religious organizations shall have no right to impose compulsory levies on the faithful.

The ownership right of religious organizations shall be protected by law.

Art. 19. (Production and Business Activities of Religious Organizations)

Religious organizations shall be entitled to establish publishing, printing, manufacturing, restoration/construction, agricultural and other enterprises, as well as charitable institutions (shelters, rest homes, hospitals, etc.) with the rights of a legal entity according to the procedure set out by the current law in order to carry out the statutory tasks.

The profit from manufacturing and other revenues of enterprises of religious organizations shall be subject to taxation in accordance with the current law according to the procedure and the amounts set for enterprises of public organizations. The profit amounts used for the charitable purposes shall not be subject to taxation.

Religious organizations shall construct the temple and other buildings according to the procedure established by the current legislation for the civil objects.

The restoration and repair of temple buildings being historical and cultural monuments shall be performed in compliance with the established rules of the protection and use of the historical and cultural monuments.

Art. 20. (Disposal of Property of Religious Organizations, Which Ceased to Exist)

 

In case of the termination of activities of a religious organization, the property issues shall be settled in accordance to its statute (regulations) and current legislation.

After the termination of activities of religious organizations, the property provided to them by the state, public organizations or citizens shall be returned to the previous owners.

The cult property owned by religious organizations may not be collected on the basis of creditor claims.

Lacking the successors, the property of a religious organization, which terminated its activities, shall be conveyed to the state.

In case of the termination of activities of a religious organization in connection with the violation hereof and other legislative acts of Ukraine, the property owned by such organization, except for the cult property may be conveyed to the state on a gratuitous basis. The cult property shall be handed over to other religious organizations.

SECTION IV

RIGHTS OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS AND CITIZENS RELATED TO THE FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE

Art. 21. (Religious Rites and Ceremonies)

Religious organizations shall have the right to establish and maintain freely accessible places of worship or religious gatherings, as well as places respected by certain denomination (places of pilgrimage).

The divine services, religious rites, ceremonies and processions shall be held freely in temple buildings and on the adjacent territory, in the places of pilgrimage, the offices of religious organizations, at cemeteries, in individual burial places and crematoria, in apartments and houses of individuals, as well as in institutions, organizations and enterprises subject to the initiative of their labor collectives and upon consent of the administration.

The military command shall provide the servicemen with the opportunity to take part in divine services and the religious rites.

The divine services and religious rites in hospitals, nursing homes, places of the pre-trial imprisonment and detention shall be held upon requests of citizens staying in the above mentioned places, or upon initiative of the religious organizations. The administration of the said institutions shall support them and take part in determining the time and other conditions of the divine service, rite or ceremony.

In other cases, the public divine services, religious rites, ceremonies and processes shall take place upon appropriate permit of the relevant local state administration, the executive committee of the village, town, and city council of people's deputies. The application for such permit shall be submitted at least ten days prior to the date of the divine service, rite, ceremony or procession, except for cases, when no delay may be tolerated.

Art. 22. (Religious Literature and Objects)

The citizens and the religious organizations shall be entitled to acquire, own and use the religious literature in the language of their choice, as well as other religious objects and materials.

Religious organizations shall be entitled to manufacture, export, import and disseminate the religious objects, literature and other information materials of the religious contents.

Religious organizations shall enjoy the exclusive right to establish enterprises for the issue of the liturgical literature and the manufacture of cult objects.

Art. 23. (Charitable and Cultural/Educational Activities of Religious Organizations)

Under the auspices of religious organizations, fellowships, fraternities, associations, other unions of citizens may be established to engage in charity, to study and disseminate the religious literature and exercise other cultural/educational activities. They may have their own statutes, which should be registered according to the procedure set for public associations.

The religious organizations shall be entitled to engage in charitable activities both independently, and via public funds. The monies spent on this purpose shall not be subject to taxation.

Art. 24. (International Relations and Contacts of Religious Organizations and the Faithful)

Religious organizations and the faithful shall have the right, individually or together with others, to establish and maintain international relations and direct personal contacts, including the visits abroad for the pilgrimage purposes, the participation in gatherings and religious events.

The participants of such contacts and events may acquire, receive and carry the religious literature and other information materials of the religious contents according to the procedure established by the current legislation.

Religious organizations may send citizens abroad to study at the theological educational institutions and receive foreign visitors for the same purpose.

The clergy, the religious preachers, preceptors, other representatives of foreign organizations, who are foreign citizens staying on the territory of Ukraine on a temporary basis, may engage in the preaching of religious teachings, the performance of religious rites and other canonical activities only in those religious organizations, which invited them, and subject to the official co-ordination with the state authority, which registered the statute (regulations) of the relevant religious organization.

SECTION V

LABOR ACTIVITIES IN RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS AND AT THEIR ENTERPRISE

Art. 25. (Labor Relations in Religious Organizations)

A religious organization may employ individuals.

The labor conditions shall be established by consent between the religious organization and the employee and determined by a labor contract to be concluded in writing.

The religious organization shall be obliged to register the labor contract according to the established procedure.

The same procedure shall apply to the registration of documents determining the conditions of the remuneration of the labor of the clergy and persons occupying elective offices of the religious organization.

Citizens working for a religious organization on the basis of a labor contract may be members of a trade union.

Art. 26. (Labor Rights of Citizens Working for Religious Organizations)

The labor legislation shall apply to the citizens working for religious organizations on the basis of a labor contract on the equal footing with employees of the state-owned and public enterprises, institutions and organizations.

The citizen's (including clergymen and persons occupying elective offices of religious organizations) revenues from the work for the religious organizations shall be taxed at rates established for employees of the state-owned enterprises, institutions and organizations.

Art. 27. (Labor Relations of Citizens at Enterprises and in Institutions of Religious Organizations)

The labor legislation, the procedure of taxation, social insurance and welfare of employees of the state-owned and public enterprises, institutions and organizations shall apply to citizens working at all enterprises founded by religious organizations, and in charitable institutions established by them.

Art. 28. (Social Welfare and Insurance of Citizens Working for Religious Organizations)

Citizens working for religious organizations, including the clergy and persons occupying elective offices of the religious organizations shall be subject to the social welfare and insurance on an equal footing with employees of the state-owned and public enterprises, institutions and organizations.

To this end, the religious organizations, their enterprises and institutions shall make contributions to the state social insurance fund and the pension fund in the amounts and according to the procedure established for the public organizations, their enterprises and institutions.

The state pension shall be awarded and paid to all citizens working for religious organizations on an equal footing in accordance with the current legislation.

SECTION VI

STATE AUTHORITIES AND RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS

Art. 29. (State Control of the Compliance with the Legislation on the Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations)

The state control over the compliance with the legislation of Ukraine on the freedom of conscience and religious organizations shall be exercised by local councils of people's deputies and their executive committees.

Art. 30. (Ukraine's State Authority in Charge of Religion Affairs)

The state authority of Ukraine in charge of religion affairs shall ensure the pursuit of the state policy towards religions and the church. To this end, this authority shall:

- support the attainment of the agreement with state authorities upon request of religious organizations and provide the necessary assistance with the issues, which need to be resolved by such authorities;

- support the strengthening of the mutual understanding and tolerance between religious organizations of different denominations;

- register the statutes (regulations) of religious organizations indicated in Part 2 of Article 14 hereof, as well as changes and amendments thereto;

- render advisory assistance to state authorities in respect of the enforcement of the legislation on the freedom of conscience and religious organizations;

- maintain contacts and co-ordination relations with similar authorities of other countries;

- support the participation of religious organizations in international religious movements, forums, and business contacts with international religious centers and foreign religious organizations;

- perform the expert assessment with the participation of representatives of religious organizations and relevant specialists.

The state authority of Ukraine in charge of religion affairs shall be formed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

Art. 31. (Liability for the Violation of the Legislation on the Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations)

Officials and citizens guilty of the violation of the legislation on the freedom of conscience and religious organizations shall be liable according to the legislation of Ukraine.

Art. 32. (International Treaties)

Should an international treaty, to which Ukraine is a party, establish rules other than those contained in the legislation on the freedom of conscience and religious organizations, then the rules of the international treaty shall be applied. Numero di documenti online: 3276

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