Belarus extends list of reasons for liquidation of religious organisations
Religious organisations in Belarus will be prohibited for activities that do not comply with the state policy, discredit the authorities, or promote war and religious hatred.
On November 29, 2023, the Lower House of the Parliament of the Republic of Belarus, the House of Representatives, adopted in the second and final reading a bill introducing a series of prohibitions for religious organisations and extending the list of reasons for which these organizations can be liquidated, reports the press service of the legislative body.
The bill "On Amending Laws Regarding the Activities of Religious Organizations" provides for the revision of the law "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations" and introduces several changes to the Civil Code of Belarus.
According to the document, religious organisations will be prohibited from using any symbols other than religious ones in places of worship; posting texts and images aimed at inciting religious discord and enmity; engaging in activities against the sovereignty of Belarus, its constitutional order and civil harmony; engaging in political activities or participating in the activities of political parties.
The grounds for the liquidation of religious organisations will include non-compliance of their activities with the main directions of the internal and external policies of the Republic of Belarus; activities against the constitutional order and civil harmony; discrediting state authorities, propaganda of war, social, national, religious, racial enmity and extremism; humiliation of national honour and dignity, harm to the health and morality of citizens, obstruction of compulsory general secondary education, etc.
The bill changes the procedure for state registration of religious organisations, regulates missionary and pilgrimage activities, and provides for the possibility for religious organisations to establish legal entities and structural units to provide social services, as well as orphanages at monasteries. The tasks and procedures of such children's homes will be determined by the Ministry of Education.
Before the new law is signed by the president, it must be approved by the Upper House of the Parliament.
Earlier, the Belarusian Orthodox Church called for enshrining traditional Christian values in the Constitution.