Religious Freedom Issues
Resolution introduced in US Congress to Urge Protection of Religious Freedom in Russia
IRFW, 6/29/2005
Moscow - On June 23 Congressman Christopher Smith of New Jersey introduced a resolution by which the U.S. Congress would formally urge the Russian Federation to "protect the freedoms of all religious communities without distinction, whether registered and unregistered, as stipulated by the Russian Constitution."
The proposed resolution (H. Con. Res. 190) specifically states that "many of the unregistered communities in the Russian Federation today were never registered under the Soviet system because they refused to collaborate with that government's anti-religious policies and they are now experiencing renewed discrimination and repression from the authorities." It also notes that "over the past 2 years there have been an estimated ten arson attacks on unregistered Protestant churches, with little or no effective response by law enforcement officials to bring the perpetrators to justice," and that "in some areas of the Russian Federation law enforcement personnel have carried out violent actions against believers from unregistered communities peacefully practicing their faith." Congressman Smith and his staff consulted International Religious Freedom Watch in drafting this proposal.