Ukraine Parliament Rejects Bill Allowing Religious Organizations to Start Schools

Kyiv, Ukraine – On 1 November 2006, Ukraine’s Parliament rejected bill #2020 “On the introduction of changes and additions to certain legal acts of Ukraine” regarding the right of religious organizations to establish schools, authored by Ukrainian National Deputy Stretovych.

According to the Institute of Religious Freedom, 239 national deputies from the parliamentary factions of the Party of Regions, the Socialist Party of Ukraine, and the Communist Party of Ukraine (members of the Anti-crisis Coalition) voted against the bill. The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine Party refused to support the factions of the Anti-crisis Coalition in the issue. On the contrary, they suggested that this bill should be taken as a legislative basis in the first reading.

On 9 October 2006, heads of the main Ukrainian churches and religious organizations (Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Protestant churches, and others) addressed Ukrainian Speaker Oleksandr Moroz, the leaders of the parliamentary factions, and Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yanukovych, requesting them to support the mentioned changes to certain legal acts of Ukraine which give religious organizations the right to set up schools. According to the Institute of Religious Freedom, the deputies of the Anti-crisis Coalition neglected the interests of the faithful and the denominations of Ukraine again, as a similar situation was observed on 17 October 2006 when Parliament reviewed a bill on the restoration of the right of religious organizations to permanent land use.

According to the Institute of Religious Freedom, these results prove to society the low level of understanding of the needs of religious freedom on the part of the deputies and show the lack of willingness to satisfy the legal wish of parents to give their children proper education and to develop the best moral features in them.