Statement of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations (AUCCRO) on the inadmissibility of violation of the principle of autonomy and interference in the liturgical practice of religious organisations

Statement

of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations (AUCCRO)

on the inadmissibility of violation of the principle of autonomy and interference

in the liturgical practice of religious organisations

The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations (AUCCRO) during the session of June 26, 2018, considered the possibility of the application of Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“violation of the equality of citizens according to their race, nationality, religious beliefs, disability and other grounds”) to clerics and religious organisations on the basis of refusal or dissatisfaction with the religious needs (sacraments, ceremonies, etc.) of persons belonging to other denominations, religions, and other religious organisations.

As a result of the discussion, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations (AUCCRO) states that according to Art. 3 of the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organisations”, “No coercion is allowed … regarding participation or non-participation in worship, religious rites and ceremonies”. Article 5 of the entioned Law of Ukraine defines: “The State protects the rights and legitimate interests of religious organisations; promotes the establishment of a relationship of mutual religious and ideological tolerance and respect between citizens who practice or do not practice religion, between believers of different faiths and their religious organisations; Recognizes and respects the traditions and internal guidelines of religious organisations if they do not contradict current legislation. The State does not interfere with the activities of religious organisations that are carried out within the limits of the law”.

On this basis AUCCRO asserts that the question of whether or not religious leaders, clergymen, ministers and preachers celebrate given religious rites and/or ceremonies, is governed by the internal guidelines of the respective religion, confession, and religious organisation and cannot be subject to the application of Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

In the event of a violation of such internal guidelines and rules by religious workers, they shall bear the responsibility specified by the rules of the respective religious organisation, as well as bear moral responsibility. Under such circumstances, attributing criminal responsibility to religious workers from any denomination and of any religious organisation in Ukraine is a violation of the principle of the autonomy of religious organisations and unlawful interference with the internal practice of the denominations and religious organisations, especially regarding the fulfilment of religious sacraments, rites and ceremonies. The rights of autonomy of religious institutions is guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and reflected in numerous decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

Besides, AUCCRO is aware of the importance of adhering to another norm of the said Law set forth in Article 5: “A religious organisation should not interfere with the activities of other religious organisations, in any form whatsover so as to preach hostility, intolerance to unbelievers and believers of other faiths. The religious organisation is obliged to “comply with the requirements of current legislation and observe law and order”.

We are convinced that full compliance with legal rights and the Law by the state, religious organisations and all citizens, is a guarantee of interconfessional and public peace in Ukraine.

Переглядів: 3

Leave a Comment

Skip to toolbar