Parish of vlg. Ptichya files a suit to ECHR due to violation of its rights

Believers of the UOC together with their rector are forced to pray outside the walls of the temple

The UOC religious community of Ptichya lodged a complaint to the European Court against the actions of the Ukrainian authorities due to the illegal arrest of its church.

The community has fully verified ownership title to the temple building and won all national lawsuits; however, the use of the temple was actually blocked by the state, human rights activists report.

The complaint was filed with the support of the NGO Public Advocacy.

Lawyers have substantiated a lawsuit by the failure of the state of Ukraine to fulfill the obligation to protect human rights on its territory.

Human rights activists emphasize that the UOC community have won all the trials initiated by its opponents, so the state system transferred the dispute to criminal proceedings, depriving believers of the opportunity to use the temple by arresting it.

Believers have repeatedly sent to courts of different instances applications on lifting arrest from the building of the temple, but the courts refused to satisfy such statements, except for the only decision of April 2, 2018, when the illegal and politically motivated arrest of the building was lifted.

However, on the same day, the building of the temple was attacked, and it was seized by armed men, while the police did not take any measures to protect the owner, nor did they release the temple or detain the criminals.

Instead of protecting the rights of the wronged party on April 3, 2018, the church building was again arrested by the decision of the Rovno City Court, after which the community’s repeated statements on the lifting of the arrest were not satisfied.

The believers think that the state violated articles 8, 9, 11, 13 of the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by allowing unreasonable interference in the affairs of a religious organization, effectively depriving it of property rights and the possibility of effective protection. In addition to appealing to the ECHR, on behalf of the NGO Public Advocacy, statements were sent to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief upon the matter.

As reported by the UOJ, a special monitoring mission of the OSCE monitors the religious situation in Ukraine. The meetings have been already held in Zaporozhye, Odessa, Pochaev, Vinnitsa.

Also, the NGO Public Advocacy has published a legal video instruction on how to protect your church from a raider seizure.

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