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ICC NOTE: It has taken ten years but Ukraine’s judicial court has agreed the requirement for religious gatherings to receive a permit in order to assemble was both discriminatory and illogical. Prior to the decision, peaceful assemblies were only required to send notification of their activity whereas peaceful religious gatherings were required to gain an official permit. It is a definite success for religious groups in the war torn Ukraine, but it also reminds the world Russian-occupied Crimea cannot experience the benefits of this ruling. Crimea must follow the same laws and restrictions as Russia which means they are also under the controversial Yarovaya laws. 

9/16/2016 Ukraine (Institute for Religious Freedom) – The requirement was discriminatory and illogical since Ukraine’s Constitution (1996) requires only that people notify of plans to hold a peaceful assembly.

The Constitutional Court announced the decision on September 13 to an audience made up of members of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, the Institute for Religious Freedom, the media and members of the public.  The religious organizations mentioned had, at the request of the Constitutional Court, presented arguments for revoking the requirement.

The judgment is dated September 8, 2016 and states that “in a democratic law-based country there cannot be different rules for holding peaceful assembly, depending on the organizers and participants, the aim, place, form, etc.,” the Institute for Religious Freedom reports.

Up till now, political demonstrations, for example, required notification only, while religious gatherings needed a permit.  The Court has now agreed that there must be only one legal mechanism for regulating peaceful assembly.   There can also be no excuse for such effective religious discrimination.

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