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In response to the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, has sent to Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko and Supreme Rada Chairman A. Parubiy a letter expressing profound concern over the prospect of the adoption of Bills Nos 4128 and 4511 and called upon them to withdraw them.

Your Excellency,

The fellowship of the World Council of Churches, the broadest and most inclusive ecumenical organization with 348 member churches from more than 110 countries representing over 500 million Christians, is deeply concerned about the intention of the Supreme Council of Ukraine to put on the agenda of its meeting tomorrow bill nr 4128 for amending the law “On the freedom of conscience and religious organizations” and bill nr 4511 on the special status of religious organizations whose administrative centres are located within a country that is recognized by the Supreme Council of Ukraine as aggressor state.

As an ecumenical organization which in its 70 years of existence has always stood for religious freedom and advocated against any form of discrimination in all parts of the world, the World Council of Churches considers that the above mentioned legislative initiatives, if adopted, endanger the freedom of religion and the equality of all churches and religious communities in Ukraine, and risk causing new tensions within Ukrainian society. While appreciating all the efforts made by the government of Ukraine for consolidating democracy and for improving Ukrainian legislation in order to meet international standards, it is our conviction that these two bills run counter to these efforts for democratic development of Ukraine. We call for these detrimental bills to be withdrawn.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
General Secretary
World Council of Churches