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The right to believe, to worship and witness
The right to change one’s belief or religion
The right to join together and express one’s belief

UKRAINE: Latest draft Law targets Ukrainian Orthodox Church for Russian links

On 5 March, the parliamentary Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy stated that a draft Law targeting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) for Russian links is ready for second reading, no date for which has been set. Without careful consideration and redrafting to remove the numerous human rights problems in the current draft, the Law would not implement Ukraine's legally-binding international obligations to respect and protect the freedoms of religion or belief, expression, and association.

UKRAINE: Kyiv Pechersk Lavra conflict, draft law, impact on freedom of religion or belief

The government revoked the 10-year-old 2013 agreement for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchate) to rent the state-owned Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves), claiming some constructions had been built on the site illegally. The UOC did not fully comply with the 29 March deadline to leave. The Lavra's UOC abbot faces a criminal case and a court placed him under house arrest. The government backs a rival Orthodox jurisdiction. "In Ukraine, there will be only the Orthodox Church of Ukraine," a presidential aide declared.

UKRAINE: Draft law better than others, freedom of religion or belief concerns remain

The Ukrainian government has produced a draft law prohibiting the operation of religious organisations affiliated with "centres of influence of religious organisations or associations with ruling centres" in Russia, but imposing an obligation on the state to prove any affiliation in court. The draft law in its present form raises freedom of religion or belief concerns. If adopted and implemented it may significantly change the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is historically and ecclesiastically linked to the Moscow Patriarchate.