Belarus
 National Profiles > > Regions > Eastern Europe > Belarus
Search National Profiles:

Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes

Constitution2

Constitution Year 1994
Last Amended 2004
Source National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic of Belarus
Translation Source is an English translation
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

Article 4

Democracy in the Republic of Belarus shall be exercised on the basis of diversity of political institutions, ideologies and opinions.
The ideology of political parties, religious or other public associations, [and] social groups may not be made mandatory for citizens.


Article 5

Political parties and other public associations acting within the framework of the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Belarus shall contribute to ascertaining and expressing the political will of citizens and shall participate in elections.
Political parties and other public associations shall have the right to use state mass media under the procedure determined by the legislation.
The foundation and activities of political parties and other public associations that aim to change the constitutional system by force, or conduct propaganda of war, social, ethnic, religious and racial hatred, shall be prohibited.


Article 12

The Republic of Belarus may grant the right of asylum to persons persecuted in other states for political or religious beliefs or their ethnic identify.


Article 15

The State shall bear responsibility for preserving the historic, cultural and spiritual heritage, and for free development of the cultures of all ethnic communities residing in the Republic of Belarus.


Article 16

Religions and faiths shall be equal before the law.
Relations between the State and religious organizations shall be regulated by law with regard to their influence on formation of spiritual, cultural and state traditions of the Belarusian people.
The activities of religious organizations, their bodies and representatives, that are directed against the sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus, its constitutional system and civic concord, or involve a violation of civil rights and freedoms of its citizens as well as impede execution of state, public and family duties by its citizens or are detrimental to their health and morality shall be prohibited.


Article 31

Everyone shall have the right to determine independently his attitude towards religion, to manifest any religion alone or in community with others, or to manifest none at all, to express and spread beliefs connected with his attitude towards religion, and to participate in the performance of acts of worship and religious rituals and rites, which are not prohibited by law.


Article 33

Everyone is guaranteed freedom of thoughts and beliefs and their free expression.
No one shall be forced to express his beliefs or to deny them.
No monopolization of the mass media by the State, public associations or individual citizens and no censorship shall be permitted.


Article 54

Everyone shall preserve the historical, cultural and spiritual heritage and other national treasures.


Article 57

Defense of the Republic of Belarus shall be the responsibility and sacred duty of the citizen of the Republic of Belarus.
The procedure governing military service, the grounds and conditions for exemption from military service, and the substitution thereof by alternative service shall be determined by law.

Sources

1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at arda@pop.psu.edu if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.