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LAW OF THE SUPREME COUNCIL OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA

of June 17, 1991 No. M9 C-0333-1

About liberty of conscience and the religious organizations

(as amended on on April 25, 2001)

Being guided by the Declaration on independence of Armenia, considering spiritual awakening of the Armenian people, its century spiritual experience and traditions, recognizing the Armenian Apostolic Church as national church of the Armenian people, important stronghold of creation of his spiritual life and preserving the nation, being guided by the principles of the rights and fundamental freedoms of the person established by the international standards and keeping commitment to provisions of article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia adopts this Law on liberty of conscience and the religious organizations.

1. General provisions

Article 1. In the Republic of Armenia liberty of conscience and religions of citizens is provided. Each citizen freely determines the relation to religion, has the right to practise any religion or not to profess any, personally or together with other citizens to make religious practices.

Article 2. Citizens of the Republic of Armenia are equal before the law to all spheres of civil, political, public, economic and cultural life, irrespective of their relation to religion or religious affiliation.

Direct or indirect restriction of the rights of citizens for religion, prosecution or preventing to other rights on religious grounds, initiation of religious strife attracts the responsibility established by the law.

Article 3. Any coercion or violence is not allowed to the citizen in case of determination of the relation to questions of participation or not participation in church services, religious practices and ceremonies, training of religion by him.

Implementation of the right of liberty of conscience is subject only to those restrictions which are necessary for protection of public safety and law and order, health of citizens and morality, the rights and freedoms of other members of society.

2. Determination of the religious organization

Article 4. The religious organization consolidation of citizens, created for the purpose of joint religion, and also satisfaction of other religious requirements. The religious organizations are - church and religious communities, dioceses, monasteries, religious congregations, their educational and publishing institutions and other religious and church organizations.

Article 5. Group of citizens is recognized the religious organization if it meets the following requirements:

a) does not contradict provisions of article 3 of this Law;

b) is based on any historically canonized sacred book;

c) on the belief logs in modern world religious and church communities;

d) does not pursue the material aims, and has exclusively spiritual focus;

e) includes at least 200 believing members. Children up to 18 years cannot be members of the religious organization, irrespective of their participation in religious practices and other circumstances.

These conditions (except specified in Item and) are not obligatory only for the religious organizations of ethnic minorities - on the national religion.

Article 6. In the territory of the Republic of Armenia are effective:

The Armenian Apostolic Church (sokrashchenno-Armyansky church) with its conventional organizations; other religious organizations created and operating among the believing members - according to own property and the charter.

3. Rights of the religious organizations

Article 7. Spiritual and religious activities of the religious organizations are performed in strictly outlined framework of the following rights:

a) unite around itself the believers;

b) provide satisfaction of all spiritual and religious needs and needs of the believers;

c) hold religious church services, ceremonies and ceremonies in houses of worship and in the territory belonging to them, in places of pilgrimage, in organizations of the religious organizations, and also at cemeteries, in houses and apartments of citizens, hospitals, nursing homes and aged, places of detention, military units - at the request of the citizens who are there and being members of this religious organization, in other cases public church services, religious practices and ceremonies are held according to the procedure, established for meetings, meetings, demonstrations and processions;

d) create the corresponding groups of religious training for religious education of the members and their children - with the consent of parents, using for this purpose the rooms belonging or allocated to them;

e) be engaged theological, religious, the historian - cultural researches;

e) prepare personnel of spiritual service or scientific and pedagogical personnel in educational institutions of the spiritual centers;

g) acquire and use objects and materials of religious appointment;

h) use mass media - in the procedure established by the law;

i) establish connection with the church organizations of other countries, irrespective of their national or religious affiliation, invite their representatives, send the believers abroad to pilgrimage, for participation in meetings and other religious actions, and also for the purpose of training and rest;

j) do charity work.

The publishing activities of the religious organizations are regulated by the current legislation of the Republic of Armenia.

The above-stated rights arise from the moment of registration of this religious organization in the Republic of Armenia.

Article 8. In the territory of the Republic of Armenia the proselytism is forbidden. As proselytism any action within the competences specified in article 7 of this Law cannot be considered.

4. Property of the religious organizations

Article 9. The property right of the religious organization is regulated by the Law "About Property in the Republic of Armenia".

Article 10. Historical monuments and cult property of the Armenian Apostolic Church and other religious organizations are used by them according to traditional procedure for consecration.

Article 11. The religious organizations shall provide protection and proper use of structures, the territories and other property transferred by it to the possession the state and also the historical monuments which are their property.

Article 12. The religious organizations can appeal to believers about voluntary cash and other donations, receive and dispose of them. The cash and other donations received by the religious organizations, receipts from citizens to the taxation are not subject.

Article 13. The religious organizations which spiritual centers are outside the territory of the Republic of Armenia cannot be financed by these centers. The religious organizations cannot be financed by batches and finance them.

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