Religious minorities in Ukraine: current issues
The article presents the results of a sociological study on the main issues relevant to religious minorities in modern Ukraine. The main ones are legal aspects related to legislation, state registration, acquiring the status of a legal entity, obtaining or acquiring land for use or construction of a religious building, etc. Among other pressing problems faced by religious minorities in their lives and activities are social, humanitarian (including educational), and economic (property, financial). Respondents – believers representing religious minorities reported violations of the right to provide for the religious needs of believers during military service (in particular, chaplaincy); harassment in the exercise of the right to participate in charitable activities (including volunteering, in particular, to work with at-risk groups – people with drug and alcohol addictions, former prisoners, etc.); difficulties with the exercise of the right to acquire and use religious objects, in particular, the restriction of the “permissible” list of objects to be imported by Christian, mostly Orthodox, tradition; violation of the right of believers representing religious minorities to self-expression and/or prejudice of the public and/or denial of employment due to the appearance of believers, under the requirements of the faith; presentation of unverified or biased information about religious minorities in the media as a source of negative public opinion concerning religious minorities. The article concludes that the state policy in the religious sphere on religious minorities is insufficiently developed, which slows down the process of Ukraine’s integration into the European international community and strengthens the marginalization of religious minorities. Moreover, the realization of the rights and freedoms of religious minorities requires the cooperation of experts, civil servants, the media, and believers of religious minorities.
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