ECHR opens proceedings on violation of rights of UOC community in Ptichya

An attempt to resolve the conflict around the Holy Assumption Church of the UOC in Ptichya

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has opened proceedings over a complaint filed by the UOC community of Ptichya over repeated takeovers of the local church.

On March 14, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights sent to the address of the religious community of the UOC of vlg. Ptichya of the Dubno district, Rovno region, an official notification about the admissibility of the applicant's complaint and the opening of the proceedings, reports the NGO “Public Advocacy”.

The notification received by the UOC community means that the European Court of Human Rights found the grounds for opening the proceedings, the lawyers of the organization explained.

The takeovers were carried out with official support and inaction, the NGO said. For a long time, despite the existence of a court-confirmed title of ownership, the community was unable to use its own church, which was seized at the request of investigators as part of a criminal inquiry.

The fact that a Ukrainian Orthodox Church community cannot use its own property constitutes an obvious violation of international law, the “Public Advocacy” said.

According to UOC believers, the authorities violated several articles of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by allowing unjustified intervention in the affairs of a religious organization, having effectively stripped it of its ownership and the right to a viable defence.

Relevant complaints have also been sent to the UN human rights council and the UN Special Rapporteur on the freedom of religion or belief.

We recall that the believers have repeatedly sent applications to courts of various instances to remove their arrest from the church building, but the courts refused to satisfy such applications, except for the only decision of April 2, 2018, when the illegal and politically motivated arrest from the building was lifted.

However, on the same day, the building of the temple was attacked and taken over by armed men, while the police neither took no measures to protect the owner, to vacate the temple and detain the criminals.

Instead of protecting the rights of the injured party on April 3, 2018, the church building was again arrested by the decision of the Rovno City Court. The community’s repeated applications about the lifting of the arrest were not met.

As the UOJ reported, the group of UN Special Rapporteurs, who on September 30, 2018, appealed to the authorized state bodies of Ukraine with an information request about the violation of the rights of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, did not receive a response in a timely manner. 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.


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