The International Journal
of Not-for-Profit Law

Volume 1, Issue 4, June 1999

A quarterly publication of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law

Country Reports: Newly Independent States

Belarus

1. Presidential Decree # 2 dd. January 29, 1999 and Presidential Decree # 11 dd. March 16, 1999

On January 26, 1999 the President of the Republic of Belarus issued the Decree on Coming Measures of Regulation of Activities of Political Parties, Labor Unions, and Other Public Associations. According to this Decree all public associations, political parties, and labor unions will have to re-register with the state authorities. According to local NGOs, through a complicated and arbitrary process the government will eliminate associations not in “favor” of the government.

The re-registration term for Belorussian NGOs is over. According to the above-mentioned President’s Decree # 2 all NGOs (public associations, political parties, and labor unions were required to apply for re-registration before July 1, 1999. Those who failed to apply for re-registration within the established term will be liquidated. According to the information published in the newspaper Belorussian Market # 27, 1999 of the total of 2,500 NGOs of all types 1471 applied for re-registration. According to information from the Ministry of Justice 241 public associations had been re-registered on the 8th of July.

Of the total number of 27 political parties only 11 parties applied for re-registration and only 4 parties were re-registered by July 8, 1999. Of 12 independent democratic labor unions only one labor union passed the re-registration. Three other labor unions applied for re-registration, but their applications are still under consideration.

Eleven public associations did not pass the re-registration. The Ministry of Justice recommended that 113 other public associations adjust their documents according to the requirements established by the above-mentioned President’s Decree # 2.

Rumors circulate among Belorussian NGOs that a list of NGOs subject to liquidation will be published by July 15, 1999. It will be clear how many NGOs failed to re-register by September 1, 1999 since many NGOs applied for re-registration only on the last days of June and the regulation allows 2 month (taking into account the possible one-month extension) for documents to be considered. However, it is clear now that more then 40% of all NGOs in Belarus are subject to liquidation due to failure to apply for re-registration. This will be a serious damage to the civil society in Belarus.

It is not clear how the NGOs that failed to re-register will be liquidated. The current legislation allows only one way to liquidate a legal entity- by court decision. However, taking into the consideration the latest legislative acts, any other procedure can be adopted.

Several amendments to the Administrative Code have already been drafted to establish penalties and even imprisonment (up to 15 days in jail) for individuals who operate on behalf of non-registered NGOs.

The civil society in Belarus is in danger. 

Ministerial Decree # 280 dd. February 23, 1999

Further, a ministerial decree was issued on February 23 replacing the prior decree of July 3, 1995. This new decree restricts activities carried out by foreign religious organizations. It provides that an invitation from the administration of a religious organization, authorized upon consideration by the State Committee for Religious and Ethic Affairs is required in order for a foreign priest/pastor to carry out religious activity in Belarus. It seems that religious sisters and other laypersons are therefore excluded. The process for obtaining the approval by the State Committee for Religious and Ethic Affairs can apparently take up to one year.

For more information regarding the ministerial decree, please contact the Keston Institute [www.keston.org] at Tel.: + 44 1865/31 10 22 ; Fax: + 44 1865/31 12 80; e-mail: keston.institute@keston.org

Kyrgyzstan

The Law on Non-Governmental, Non-Profit Organizations

Vadim Nee
ICNL Advisor

In June 1999 a new Law on Non-governmental, Nonprofit Organizations was adopted by the Kyrgyz Parliament. It has not been signed yet by the President of Kyrgyzstan and the official final text of the law is not available to the public. However, according to some Kyrgyz NGOs, if the final draft did not suffer through major revisions, it will improve the legal environment for NGOs.

The new law has been prepared during the course of several years as a result of joint efforts of NGOs and people’s deputies of the Kyrgyz Parliament. However, the final version of the law went through heated discussions between different NGOs.

The basic purpose of the law is to strengthen both the principle legal status of a non-profit organization, and its specific forms (such as public associations, institutions, and foundations). The principle advantages brought to NGOs by the new law are (i) the declaration of the freedom of association either with or without establishing a separate legal entity, (ii) the simplified registration procedure eliminates the requirement to register an NGO based on the territoriality of its activity, (iii) the list of documents established by the law limits government’s authority to expand the mentioned list other than through amending the law, (iv) the permission to carry out any activities not prohibited by the law and stated by an organization, (v) the possibility to set up different organizational forms of NGOs, such as public associations, foundations, and institutions, which were declared, but not regulated in details by the Kyrgyz Civil Code, (vi) the need to regulate political parties and religious organizations separately from other NGOs, and (vii) other advantages.

However, NGOs criticized several provisions of the law, such as the compulsory re-registration of NGOs due to the adoption of the new law. A few alternatives for replacement of the given provisions have been submitted to the Parliament’s consideration. Other provisions criticized by NGOs were the lack of restrictions for the government authorities to supervise NGOs and provisions on the order of resolution of conflict of interest in NGOs. Appropriate amendments to the draft were prepared by NGOs and submitted to the Parliament.

Kyrgyz and international NGOs are looking forward to see the final text of the new law to start working on its implementation.

Draft Law on Religion

A draft law on religion was approved by the Jogorku Kenesh at the first reading, on March 4. This draft if passed would replace the Law of December 1991.

The main concern about this draft is the ban on unregistered religious groups. These would be prohibited to preach, own property or carry out any religious activity. Further, it seems that the registration itself could be hampered by the large discretion given to the State Organ for Religious Affairs competent for the registration of religious organizations.

In addition, the draft provides that only religious organizations and academic institution will be allowed to pursue the publication and distribution of religious literature.

For more information regarding this draft, please contact the Keston Institute [www.keston.org] at Tel.: + 44 1865/31 10 22 ; Fax: + 44 1865/31 12 80; e-mail: keston.institute@keston.org

Moldova

On June 11, the draft law on foundations passed its first reading in the Moldavian Parliament. The draft law previously received a reading in the Parliament of the old convocation in 1997. However, according to the Parliament’s Procedures the draft law will still have to go through another reading. It is expected that this second reading will take place no later then in the fall of this year.

The draft law allows the establishment of a new organizational form of NGOs- the non-membership organization foundation. Currently, the only organizational form in Moldova is a membership organization public association. Unlike in most other NIS countries, there is no new Civil Code in Moldova which would establish different organizational forms of NGOs.

The draft law on foundations allows the establishment of different types of foundations, of mutual or public benefit, based on the will. The draft law regulates in detail the registration procedure, internal governance, and the activities of foundations.

 For more information, please, contact Peter Gorbunenko or Ilia Trombitski, public association Biotica. E-mail: paolo@mdearn.cri.md

Russia

Russian Federation: New Federal Law on Foreign Humanitarian or Technical Assistance

Petr Pajas
ICNL

On May 4, 1999, President Yeltsin signed the Federal Act No. 95-F3, on the Free of Charge Humanitarian and Technical Assistance to the Russian Federation and on Changes and Amendments to the Tax Laws and on Introduction of Exempts from Dues Connected with Payments to State Budgetary Funds Resulting from the Implementation of Foreign Assistance to the Russian Federation. The Act was adopted by the State Duma on April 16, 1999 and approved by the Council of Federation a week later. The Act has been in force since May 12, 1999. According to some, the Act may, at least for several months, make the work of not-for-profit organizations of Russia more complicated. However, the Act also broadens the scope of benefits for recipients and providers of foreign humanitarian and technical assistance to the Russian Federation and its subjects.

 In comparison to the previous laws governing the foreign humanitarian and technical assistance, the new law introduces several new features:

 Russian experts are worried by the non-existence of governmental regulations and official revenue and customs administration explanatory texts with respect to these new legal conditions for foreign assistance. They are afraid of many more complications for NGOs, especially when dealing with humanitarian assistance provided in response natural disasters, as well as concerning explanations of the kind of documents needed and kind of procedures the NGOs will have to go through in order to obtain the certificates and all the connected tax and fees exemptions.

* Based on the text of the Act and comments to it by Irina Leonidovna Semionkina, CAF Moscow, June 1999.

Tajikistan

In June 1999, the Tadjik Parliament adopted the new Civil Code. However, the final official text of the Code has not yet been available to the public. The new Code has yet to be signed by the President of Tadjikistan.

The draft Tadjik Civil Code was prepared based on the 1992 Model Civil Code and is similar to the civil codes of Russia and other Central Asian countries (except Turkmenistan). The new Civil Code allows the existence of different forms of NGOs, such as public associations, foundations, and institutions. Like provisions in most other Civil Codes in Central Asia, the Tadjik Civil Code requires follow up legislation in order to establish these forms of NGOs. However, the adoption of the Civil Code is an extremely important step in the development of the civil legislation in Tadjikistan, including the NGO legislation.

 It is remarkable that the provisions affecting NGOs have been broadly discussed by NGOs. The prominent leaders of the Tadjik NGO sector have been working on the Civil Code in the drafting group together with the Ministry of Justice and other government agencies. NGOs submitted their recommendations to the drafting group and, according to the drafters, many of these recommendations were incorporated into the draft.

 For more Information, Please, contact Muatar Khaidarova,PhD, ICNL Advisor. E-mail: muatar@dsl.td.silk.org or khaidar@academy.td.silk.org

Ukraine

The Tax Code and Non-Profit Organizations in the Ukraine

Anatolii Tkacuk

The non-profit sector in the Ukraine has been waiting with interest and anticipation for the outcome of consideration of several draft tax codes submitted to Parliament within the last two months.

In the Ukraine, the issue of adopting a tax code was raised a while ago. Discussion about the tax code first began in 1993, when Victor Pinzenic, the Vice-Premier responsible for economic reform in Leonid Kucima’s (the current President of the Ukraine) government, promised that the government would draft a tax code by March 1993.

However, the Ukraine experienced quite a few changes in government and its programs in the years that followed, and efforts to draft a tax code never really got off the ground. But in 1998 everything changed. The Chairman of the Budget Committee of Parliament, Iulia Timoshenco, initiated efforts to adopt a new budget and tax code and promised to present these projects for discussion in Parliament. In the spring of 1999, at first the draft of the budget code was presented to the Ukrainian Parliament, which was followed by the draft tax code presented by people’s deputies Turchinov and Timoshenko.

The discussion of the need to adopt a Tax Code is going on for a long time. In addition, the adoption of the Tax Code is one of the conditions for receiving support from the International Monetary Fund. This spurred the creation of multiple proposals for a tax code, and the budget committee soon found that its draft was not the only one. Four draft tax codes and two outlines of tax codes presented by groups from the entire range of the political spectrum have already been registered in the Parliament.

The Ukrainian Cabinet Minister also prepared a draft tax code. There are two draft tax codes prepared by the government and by Turchinov and Timoshenko group are considered to be in comparing with each other. The draft presented by the deputies is proposing to radically change the entire taxation system, while the government’s draft merely codified and summarized the existing tax legislation in Ukraine.

Which draft is better and which has better chances for passage? From the point of view of non-profit organizations, the tax code drafted by the Government does not bring any unexpected changes to the existing legislation, which by itself can be considered to be positive. Many in the Ukraine believe that economic growth and development and growth of support to NGOs by businesses are not possible without a major reform of the entire tax system. At the same time, alternative drafts are not beneficial to the not­-for-profit sector. In addition, the “creative incorporation” of the “best provisions” from different draft laws can create unexpected results for the economy in general and for not-for-profit organizations in particular.

Based on past practices of the Parliament with consideration of any issue, especially where many competing drafts existed, the adoption of the tax code will not be an easy process, especially taking into the consideration the upcoming President’s elections in Ukraine at the end of October. 1999. It is reasonable to expect that the new tax code will be adopted after the President’s elections.

How can non-profit organizations can effect the current situation?

How to achieve this goal? This is a very difficult question because of many interests of different groups are involved in the preparation and lobbying of tax legislation.. One thing is clear- it is necessary to cooperate with all groups involved to insure that the opinion of not-for-profit organizations will be heard.

In this regard, ICNL takes exactly this position: providing technical assistance, offering consultation to all parties involved in the preparation and discussion of draft tax codes. This is probably a correct approach. The technical capacity of ICNL in these areas is significant. ICNL’s informational assistance to groups working on the preparation of codes can help to increase the understanding of important of appropriate tax treatment of public benefit, non-profit activities and can provide a good service to the entire third sector in the Ukraine.

For more information, please, contact Anatolij Tkachuk, ICNL Senior Legal Advisor in WestNIS by e-mail: csi@ukrpack.net Tel/fax in Kiev: (380-44) 2120164.

Налоговый кодекс и неприбыльные организации в Украине.

Общественный сектор в Украине сейчас с интересом и тревогой ожидает результатов рассмотрения парламентом целого пакета законопроектов налогового кодекса, внесенных на рассмотрение в течении последних двух месяцев.

В Украине вопрос принятия налогового кодекса возник не сегодня и даже не вчера. Впервые разговоры по налоговому кодексу начались еще в начале 1993 года, когда вице-премьер по вопросам экономической реформы в правительстве Леонида Кучмы(нынешнего Президента Украины), Виктор Пинзеник пообещал, что правительство подготовит проект кодекса к марту 1993 года.

С этого времени сменилось уже несколько правительств и правительственных программ, а налоговый кодекс так и не был принят, да и проекта его не было. Но в 1998 году все изменилось. Председатель бюджетного комитета парламента Юлия Тимошенко выступила с инициативой принятия бюджетного и налогового кодекса и пообещала представить такие проекты на рассмотрение в парламент. Весной 1999 года в украинском парламенте появился сначала проект бюджетного, а потом и налогового кодекса, внесенные группой депутатов во главе с Турчиновым - Тимошенко.

Поскольку о налоговом кодексе так долго говорили, а одними из условий или рекомендаций МВФ относительно содрудничесва с Украиной есть принятие налогового кодекса, то инициатива бюджетного комитета не осталась в одиночестве. В парламенте уже зарегистрировано четыре проекта налогового кодекса и две концепции такого документа внесенными поклонниками самых различных политических течений и экономических школ.

Свой проект налогового кодекса подал и Кабинет Министров Украины. Именно проект правительства и проект Турчинова – Тимошенко считаются фаворитами, хотя именно между этими проектами имеются наиболее существенные различия. Если проект депутатов радикально меняет всю схему налогобложения в Украине, то проект правительства фактически кодифицирует и сводит в один документ все законодательство по налогообложению, которое сегодня действует в Украине.

Что лучше и какие шансы на принятие имеет тот или иной законопроект?

С точки зрения неприбыльных организаций налоговый кодекс в проекте правительства не несет для них никаких неожиданностей, что само собой есть позитивным моментом. Но многие в Украине убеждены, что без изменения налоговой системы и кардинального реформирования структуры налогов и налоговых ставок вряд ли можно рассчитывать на экономический подьем, а значит и на дополнительное финансирование некомерческого сектора со стороны предпринимательства. В то же время, альтернативные проекты кодексов не слишком благосклонны к некомерческому сектору, а в процессе «творческого обьединения» лучших норм из разных проектов на этапе парламентской работы, может получится довольно неожиданный результат как для экономики в целом, так и для неприбыльных организаций в частности.

Исходя из опыта рассмотрения в парламенте любого вопроса, по которому есть много альтернативных проектов, можно предположить, что налоговый кодекс в Украине ожидает не простой путь к утверждению, тем более, что в конце октября 1999 года в Украине состоятся президентские выборы.

Можно предположить, что скорее всего новый кодекс следует ожидать уже после выборов.

Что же делать некомерческому сектору в этой ситуации сегодня?

Во-первых, не допустить ухудшения правил налогообложения неприбыльных организаций в связи с принятием нового налогового кодекса.

Во-вторых, попытаться воздействовать на процесс принятия кодекса таким образом, чтобы хотя бы частично решить вопрос о стимулировании филантропии со стороны предпринимательских структур через налоговые механизмы.

Как этого добиться? Вопрос конечно достаточно сложен, поскольку довольно много различных групп интересов задействованы в подготовке и продвижении налоговых законопроектов. Ясно лишь одно. Необходимо работать со всеми, чтобы в любом законопроекте, который поддержит парламент, вне зависимости от субьекта внесения, были учтены интересы некоммерческого сектора.

ICNL в этом процессе занял как раз такую позицию: оказывать техническую, консультационную помощь всем, вовлеченным в процесс подготовки и обсуждения проектов налогового кодекса.

Наверное это правильное решение. Технические возможности ICNL здесь довольно большие, а информационная поддержка групп, работающих над кодексами, материалами, способствующими понимаю важности налогового стимулирования общественной, некоммерческой деятельности, может сослужить добрую службу для всего третьего сектора в Украине.

Анатолий Ткачук. 14.07.99.

A Roundtable on National Register for Not-for-Profit Organizations in Ukraine:  By-laws do not Substitute for the Legislative Flaws

Alexander Vinnikov
Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy, Kyiv, Ukraine

Under the Ukrainian Law on Corporate Income Tax of 1997, a number of organizations are eligible for not-for-profit status and relevant tax deductions. Deductible income includes donations, passive income, fees for related services and membership. The General Tax Administration (GTA) is to keep a national register of not-for-profit organizations (such as public benefit organizations, non-business associations, churches, credit unions, pension funds, political parties, state-sponsored schools or museums). The GTA also makes the decision, if any organization meets the legal demands for not-for-profit status and has discretionary powers to include and exclude from the register. It should be stress that NGOs not included to the register are still legal entities, which may not distribute any dividends between membership. However, such NGOs just lose the right to tax deductions on corporate income tax and are required to pay 30% of total grants or gifts received and the relevant fines if they fail to pay this tax.

It makes NGOs most vulnerable given the lack of state funding and arbitrary decisions made by local tax authorities about “related-unrelated” NGOs activities. Some NGOs have to give up public benefit activity or to shift into businesslike operations losing any legal tax deductions. GTA regulations which came into effect in November 1998 declare that the mere mention of unrelated activities in NGO articles represents a sufficient reason to refuse including them into the register or even to exclude them from it, even if the NGO never had any income, e.g., from book sales.

On April 14, 1999, Committee on Finance and Banking of Ukrainian Parliament and Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy held a roundtable on issues concerning the register of not-for-profit organizations. The discussions between Members of Parliament (MP), GTA officials and NGO activists have disclosed the following.

Ukrainian legislation contains no legal definition or concept of not-for-profit activities (syn. public benefit, related or charitable). There are only separate and often incompatible lists of organizations and their revenues eligible for tax deductions. MP Sergy Teryokhin has argued that only laws should define the not-for-profit activities and its criteria. Neither the executive branch nor individuals should decide if anybody else’s activities are of mutual benefit.

MPs are strongly opposed to the idea of using foundations for permanent reinvesting tax-free assets for eventual funding public benefit. However, Ukrainian law on public benefit activities and charities demands that at least 80% of total PBO income should be spent on public benefit projects. The lack of institutions like foundations with an endowment has become a great obstacle to accumulation of internal sources of PBO funding in Ukraine, but legislators have no clear approaches to endowment regulation yet. It might be useful to provide optional models for endowments funding (e.g., part of capital gain, of annual expenditures or estimated assets).

There are 69,500 registered not-for-profit organizations in Ukraine (January, 1999), including only 11,480 non-business associations and 2,070 PBOs. The rest of 23,000 NGOs having legal personality are on the shelf or non-eligible for the GTA register because of their business activities. Moreover, the slight majority of registered NGOs do not declare any revenues. In fact, tax deductions for not-for-profit organizations in Ukraine are practical only for 5,000 non-business associations and 1,200 PBOs (near 25% of total NGOs number). This is the measure of social partnership between the Ukrainian government and 50 millions of citizens.

In 1998, the total income declared by PBOs' was 134 millions hrivnas (4 hrivnas=1$US), composed of grants and donations (123 M), passive income (4 M), fees (4 M) and other revenues (4 M). The non-business associations earned 190 M, including grants and donations (149 M), passive income (13 M), fees (12 M) and other revenues (16 M). It is remarkable that registered NGO got 84% of their income as grants and donations and only 5% as fees. State funding is most restricted, too. So the structure of Ukrainian NGOs income differs greatly from the EU and other CEE countries. The share of NGOs in GNP is insignificant (0.2-0.3%). However, these statistics accounts for a minority of NGOs, which do not engage in any business activity nor have any income from hidden sales; this may cause the total share of fees and other revenues to be greatly underestimated.

The fiscal outcome of tax deductions for NGOs is quite paradoxical. GTA estimates the direct losses in state revenues for 1998 to be 214 M hrivnas (50 M $US). Some state officials regularly demand to revise the regulations of not-for-profit activities to prevent tax-evasion and to get additional money for budget expenditures. Putting aside the controversial issue whether the state or NGOs provide more cost-effective social services, these accusations are just ill-grounded. First, these losses are not distributed between NGOs and other registered not-for-profit organizations (government agencies, churches, political parties, etc.). Income tax on NGOs revenues (81 M US$) may not exceed 24 M US$. Second, the great majority of grants and donations comes from the agreements on international technical assistance between Ukraine and Western countries. This income is tax-free under the self-executing agreements and other legislative provisions without special tax deductions for NGOs. So the direct budget losses are within 5 to 6 M US$.

However, a number of other taxes are levied on NGOs in Ukraine. If GTA refuses to include an NGO into the register, the organization would rather give up its activity or get its income in cash (grants or fees). Then, the state budget loses sums of individual income tax and taxes on social insurance: it is only natural to presume that 6,200 NGOs with a single full-time paid employee would pay 4.5 to 5 M US$ as direct taxes per year. The more assets the registered NGO declares, the more VAT, customs and hard currency exchange revenues Ukrainian budget receives. The corporate income tax deductions for NGOs costs nothing, and may be even profitable for the Ukrainian government. Meanwhile, 124,000 enterprises are tax debtors: instead of sanctions, the government complicates the bankruptcy procedures.

The Ukrainian Parliament used to pay occasionally attention to legal framework for NGOs, while discussing drafts concerning sensitive issues (legislation on political parties, humanitarian aid, national elections, lobbying or publicized abuses). MPs are aware of the biases of the executive branch toward NGOs: the latter are constantly suspected of money laundering and political advertising (certainly, there are some well-known cases).

Legislation amendments take time and have shifting priorities, so the legal framework for NGOs in Ukraine should not depend only on Parliament. Special government agencies or even ministries (like in Poland) responsible for co-operation with NGOs could solve some problems of legal regulation in a more operative and competent way. It does not mean, however, that such an agency might decide which activities are of public benefit or worthy of tax deductions; it should be the responsibility of the legislative branch.

Unfortunately, in the drafts of Civil Code and Tax Code that are discussed in committees of the Ukrainian Parliament, little attention is paid to the concepts of non-business corporation or foundation as well as to not-for-profit activities. Ukrainian NGOs and international organizations should make efforts to change the situation, otherwise some day it would be a district tax police authority, not Parliament, that defines the criteria of public benefit.

Alexander Vinnikov,
Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (Kyiv, Ukraine)
Project Director, Not-for-profit Legislation Development

Uzbekistan

New Law On Non-governmental Non-commercial Organizations: Reception at the Uzbek Embassy

On June 28, 1999 the Uzbek Embassy hosted a reception with regards to the adoption of the New Law on Non-governmental Non-commercial Organizations. This law was adopted by the Uzbek Parliament in April 1999. International organizations participating in the reception congratulated the Uzbek government with this important step towards improvement of the legal environment for NGOs in Uzbekistan. However, in their presentations they stressed that the effect of this law will depend on its implementation and may be positive as well as negative. They urged the Uzbek government to follow on its declared intention to support the development of the NGO sector.

Natalia Bourjaily, the ICNL Program Director for NIS in her speech stressed positive as well as negative features of the new law and complemented the broad discussion of the draft law by NGOs throughout the country. NGOs had the opportunity to present their recommendations to the drafters and to the Committee on Legislation and Judicial reform of Olij Majilis (Parliament). Some NGOs recommendations were incorporated into the law.

The law brings important positive changes to the NGO legal framework:

It is not fair to expect that this law will resolve all NGO problems. Still a lot of work has to be done with the improvement of the NGO legislation. Many important problems are still unresolved in the new law. Many NGOs recommendations to the draft were not incorporated into the final text.

The 1992 Post-Soviet Law on Public Associations has not lost its force. In this respect it is necessary to introduce amendments in accordance with the superseding Law on NGOs.

It is not clear yet if NGOs will be required to re-register pursuant to the adoption of the new law. The re-registration procedure, if applied, may be a painful process for the NGO sector and it is really critical to try to avoid such a re-registration, or, at least, to simplify it.

Yet, the effect of adoption of the law on Non-governmental Non-commercial Organizations is still unclear. It will depend on the process of implementation of the law. It is crucially important that the follow up regulations will retain the positive intention of the new law: to encourage the development of the NGO sector. It is also important that NGOs be allowed to participate in further development and interpretation of the new NGO law and regulations.

International organizations expressed their hope that NGO law reforms will be continued and the work on NGO legislation will be carried out democratically and openly.

Despite the adoption of the above-mentioned law, it is important to note that some amendments to the criminal code, adopted into law on April 15, provide for harsher sanctions for those who will carry out or participate in the activities of an unregistered religious organization.

For more information regarding the amendments to the criminal code, please contact the Keston Institute [www.keston.org] at Tel.: + 44 1865/31 10 22 ; Fax: + 44 1865/31 12 80; e-mail: keston.institute@keston.org

 

Copyright 2008 The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL)
ISSN: 1556-5157