No Current Plans to Change 1993 Religion Law Privileging Buddhism

December 11, 2003

Source: Forum 18 News Service

On December 11, 2003 Forum 18 News Service reported, "Mongolia's 13-member consultative Council for Religious Affairs believes the country's existing law on religion to be 'relatively fair,' that body's secretary and only full-time paid member, Samdan Tsedendamba, has told Forum 18 News Service. Consequently, there are no current plans to change the law, he remarked in the capital Ulaanbaatar on 19 October. 'We want to observe the development of the religious situation before perhaps making proposals'...Forum 18 notes that Article 4, Part 2 of the law indeed gives Buddhism state preference 'in order to respect national unity and historical traditions' [quotations here and subsequently are from the official English translation of the law], but does not permit 'obstacles for the citizens to follow other religions.' The provision restricting religious activity by foreigners...was struck down by the Constitutional Court, Tsedendamba maintained, as was a provision requiring permission from the head of a religious organisation in order to register communities of the same confession. "The Christians said that they could not have a single representative body for all of them," he explained."