UOC: Ignoring UN’s request, authorities neglect international law
The UOC believes the state’s silence in response to the UN’s request on discrimination against the Church negatively affects the country's international ratings.
In accordance with international law and resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council, the State of Ukraine was obliged to provide the Special Rapporteurs with a response to their communication statement within 60 days, which was not done, stresses the Statement of the UOC Representative Office to European International Organizations on the communication of UN Special Rapporteurs about violations of the rights of UOC believers.
On October 30, 2018, a communication statement was signed by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assemblies and associations, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. This document is a request of Special Rapporteurs to the State of Ukraine in order to receive an answer with explanations regarding the facts of violations of the rights of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The UOC explains: the request covers almost all types of violations of the rights of believers, namely, the seizure of churches, attempts to disrupt the All-Ukrainian Cross procession, the lack of progress in the investigation of criminal proceedings opened on the basis of statements by believers, and attacks on journalists covering the subject of violations of the rights of Orthodox believers.
“The nature of the statement of the UN Special Rapporteurs to the State of Ukraine regarding violations of the rights of believers of the UOC is a resonant event because this communication is a means of international diplomatic influence and a form of informed interference by the international community in the internal affairs of Ukraine. It is implemented when the United Nations Special Rapporteurs establish sufficient facts that give reason to believe that there are signs of significant violations of human rights in the country,” the statement says.
The UOC statement emphasizes: “Actually, for the first time, representatives of the international community with special diplomatic and legal binding competence opened official proceedings on violations of the rights of the faithful of the UOC and sent a request to the State of Ukraine based on Ukraine’s obligations to comply with international standards for the protection of human rights on its territory ".
The UOC representative office recalls that, in addition to the communication statement of the UN Special Rapporteurs, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern about violations of the rights of believers in its report “Civil Space and Fundamental Freedoms Ahead of Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Elections in Ukraine in 2019-2020” .
The communication statement of the UN Special Rapporteurs was also preceded by numerous appeals from religious communities and believers of the UOC, human rights organizations within the UN special procedures, which are authorized to consider individual and collective complaints.
“Based on the above, we once again draw the attention of representatives of state authorities, political parties, public organizations and all interested persons to the inadmissibility of violations of the rights of citizens of Ukraine – believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” the final part of the document says.
As the UOJ reported, the group of UN Special Rapporteurs, which on September 30, 2018, appealed to the authorized state bodies of Ukraine with an information request on the violation of the rights of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, received no answer within the legally prescribed time frame. The UOC Representative Office to European International Organizations regards this as an attempt to hide the real situation with discrimination against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Also, UN human rights defenders expressed serious concern over the harassment of the UOJ journalists who publish information on violations of the rights of believers of the UOC.