Russian Duma Attempts To Legalize Government-Paid Security for Church Patriarch




st1:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:"Times New Roman";

Understanding the importance of the protection of the
life and safety of all citizens of Russia, including that of the religious
leaders in our country, the Good Sense (Zdravomislie) Public Fund has met the
news of the upcoming amendments to our secular law with alarm.

The Public Fund Good Sense learned that the government
of Russia initiated an amendment in the state Duma of the Russian Federation in
the form of bill № 586178­5, containing a clause to expand the list of individuals
being protected by government, with taxpayers money, to include an unspecified
number of people that do not have any relation to government service or the
functioning of the state. Among those listed in the expanded list was the head
of the Russian Orthodox Church.

This bill was apparently created in order to legalize the
state security which has been provided for the church Patriarch for many years
now without any legal basis.

In relation to this, the Good Sense Foundation
addresses an open letter to the President of Russia, Dmitri Medvedev, in which
we ask him to answer two questions:

1) Will somebody be held accountable for the violation
of legal principles that have been going on for a number of years?

2) How does the government’s initiative to support
just one out of many religious organizations registered in Russia
correspond with the secular nature of our state, as indicated in our national constitution?

The Fund is also addressing a letter to the head of
the dedicated Security Committee in the State Duma, Vasiliev V.A, with a
request to act out of a sense for public consent in terms of ethnic and
religious cross-relations when discussing the bill. We also ask that the Duma
keep the secular basis of our national constitution in mind when determining
what private Russian citizens should be eligible to receive government-paid
security protection.

Follow this story

UN Affirms Right to Blaspheme

Late last month, the UN issued a new statement on the extent of
freedom of speech under international law. It says that laws restricting
blasphemy as such are incompatible with universal human rights

The statement came from the Human Rights Committee, the body of
eighteen “independent experts” mandated to monitor compliance with the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, or ICCPR, the 1966
human rights treaty that provides for freedom of opinion and expression
and other fundamental rights. The Committee’s general comments
represent authoritative interpretations of the provisions of the ICCPR.
Unlike the highly-publicized resolutions produced by the Human Rights
Council and the General Assembly, the provisions of the ICCPR are
legally binding to its more than 165 parties.

Follow this story