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Russia: Religious Freedom

Volume 548: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What reports they have received of the intention of the Russian Parliament to amend the 1990 Religious Freedom Act as to prohibit independent activity of foreign religious organisations and workers; and whether they will call the attention of the Russian Government to the fact that such a prohibition would violate Articles 18 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Russian Supreme Soviet passed an amendment to the 1990 Law on Freedom of Religion on 14th July. The amendment cannot come into force without President Yeltsin's signature. We have told the Russians that we consider the amendment a retrograde step, and have raised our concerns at a senior level with the Russian authorities. We have also drawn the attention of the Russian Government to their international commitments in relation to religious freedom and the free passage of information.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are taking steps to encourage President Yeltsin to veto the new amendment to the 1990 Law on the Freedom of Religion recently passed by the Russian Parliament.

We have raised our concerns about the amendment at a senior level in the president's administration and in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have told the Russians that we consider the amendment, which has not yet received President Yeltsin's approval, to be a retrograde step. We have drawn attention to Russia's international commitments under the CSCE in relation to religious freedom and the free passage of information.