HC Deb 11 February 1998 vol 306 c248W
Rev. Martin Smyth

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, at the forthcoming EU-Russia Summit, he will raise the issue of the religious freedom legislation in Russia. [28977]

Mr. Doug Henderson

We have been assured by the Russian authorities that implementation of the law on freedom of conscience and religious association will not contravene Russia's international human rights obligations. Flexible application will be the key. We understand that formal regulations designed to assist provincial officials to implement the complex law are currently under discussion in Moscow. In the meantime, the Russian Ministry of Justice has issued informal guidelines which seem to be less roserictive.

Neither final dates nor a final agenda have been agreed for the EU/Russia Summit. But if by then we have evidence that the law is rosericting religious freedom, then I will consider raising the matter under the broad umbrella of human rights issues.