Authorities Will Control Invitation of Foreign Priests

2008 2008-02-07T20:51:42+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The Soviet of Ministers of Belarus approved a regulation on order of invitation of foreign citizens and stateless persons for religious activity in Belarus.

‘Religious communities have the right to invite foreigners to Belarus for religious activity in coordination with authorized person for religions and nationalities for a term of maximum a year’, Interfax learnt on Thursday from the regulation of the Council of Ministers.

As Mikhail Rybakou, spokesman of the office of religions and nationalities, said to Radio Liberty, ‘a religious organization must explain who, for what purpose and for what term it invites. If there are not enough local clergymen, we approve a candidate and examine the documents.’

According to him, a clergyman will need to have a number of documents, confirming his qualification to get permission for religious activity in Belarus. An application won’t be considered in absence of at least one document.

By the way, an authorized person on religion and nationalities can refuse an applicant without assigning any reasons, which contradicts to article #29 of the law On Freedom of Conscience and Religion.

At this date, nearly a half of the clergymen working in Belarus are foreign citizens. There are not enough local catholic and protestant priests.