Human rights defenders urge Phanar to refrain from talks on autocephaly

Head of NGO "Public Advocacy" Oleg Denisov

NGO "Public Advocacy" called on the Patriarchate of Constantinople not to hold negotiations on the Ukrainian issue.

Human rights defenders also recommended that state officials of Ukraine act in accordance with their competence and not interfere in the internal affairs of religious communities. This is reported on the organization's website.

During the 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which takes place from June 28 to July 6 in Geneva, representatives of the NGO "Public Advocacy" stressed that Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople carries out responsibility while considering issues relating to Ukrainian Orthodoxy.

In particular, according to public advocates, radical offenders and unscrupulous politicians in Ukraine are already using the fact of holding talks with the Patriarchate of Constantinople to incite religious enmity in Ukraine and stigmatize the believers of the UOC.

This is evidenced by the placement of information about the episcopate and clerics of the UOC on the website "Mirotvorets" ("Peacemaker"), as well as the rhetoric of hatred in the official documents of Ivano-Frankovsk, Rovno regional councils, statements of individual deputies and politicians.

Members of the organization stressed: it is necessary to recognize as unacceptable the use by the senior officials of Ukraine of their public office in lobbying questions of granting autocephaly.

"The constitutional powers of the President of Ukraine, the head of parliament, the Minister of Foreign Affairs do not provide for the competence to conduct negotiations on religious issues with representatives of other religious organizations. Such talks are a private issue of religious leaders, and their putting on the public plane and the media can provoke a new round of religious tension in the country. Public servants of Ukraine, having negotiations with representatives of the Local Churches, actually lobby the project of a religious organization of private rather than public law, thus violating international law and the Constitution of Ukraine, acting with the abuse of their authority and contrary to the interests of the state," the lawyers explain.

NGO "Public Advocacy" called on the Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to refrain from holding public talks on the Ukrainian issue and recommended that state officials of Ukraine act in accordance with their competence and not interfere in the internal affairs of religious communities.

NGO "Public Advocacy" sent a statement to the members of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the need to take into account the difficult situation of the communities of the UOC when negotiating and considering the issues of autocephaly.

NGO "Public Advocacy" is a non-governmental organization with a consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council and part of the international network of human rights organizations Publicadvocacynetwork.

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