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Belarus--Religious liberty restricted. (News in Brief: Russia).

Minsk -- In October 2002, the Belorussian parliament passed one of the most repressive laws on religion in the world. This was ratified on October 31 by President Aleksandr Lukashenko, who rules the country as a dictator and who thinks Belarus should reunite with Russia. The purpose of the new law is to favour the Orthodox Church as the established state religion. Other religious organizations require to be officially registered, but the government denies such registration to groups that were not registered in 1982-a time when government policies were still avowedly aetheistic.

The new law places strict controls on religious activities, especially those involving foreign-born workers. It will affect minority religious groups more than Catholics. Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek of Minsk, himself a survivor of Soviet forced-labour camps, has expressed great concern at these restrictions. Aid to the Church in Need reports that he foresees that life will not get any better for the Church in the immediate future.
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EXBE
Date:Apr 1, 2003
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