Crime on religious grounds is on the rise in Ukraine, – human rights activists

Statistics of law enforcement bodies in Ukraine show an increase in crime on religious grounds, and the seizures of UOC churches in Kolomyia and Gribovitsa demonstrate the emergence of a category of interfaith conflicts that threaten the entire society, said NGO "Public Advocacy".

The study of the data on the dynamics of religious crimes, conducted by the organization, indicates a steady increase in violations of religious rights. According to Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine "Violation of the equality of citizens depending on their race, nationality or attitude to religion", there were opened criminal proceedings: in 2013 – 16, in 2014 – 26, in 2015 – 40. Only for 9 months of 2017, 42 claims have been filed and registered.

"Especially dangerous for society are conflicts that are officially supported by representatives of religious confessions, as they can turn into mass confrontations and are prerequisites for religious wars. Such conflicts include the case of the church in Kolomyia, Ivano-Frankivsk region, where, despite a wide public response, supporters of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church continue to illegally hold the building of the church and openly call on social networks to grab the church property of the UOC, " says the statement. " The fact of the unlawful eviction of a UOC priest from his house in the village of Gribovitsa belongs to the same category of conflicts that harm not only the individual interests of an individual or a community but affect the state of the whole society."

Human rights activists note that law enforcement agencies, when they do not ensure legality, are responsible for the growth of crime and tension in society.

The NGO "Public Advocacy", considering a particular risk of these offenses, has reported about these cases to the law enforcement bodies of Ukraine and is preparing appeals to international human rights organizations.
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