Bishop Victor: We can expect support from Europe in protecting our rights

Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka. Photo: protiktor.com

The head of the UOC Mission to European international organizations spoke about the nuances of human rights work at a European level.

The UOC can expect support from Europe in protecting the constitutional rights of believers, explained the head of the UOC Mission to European international organizations, the vicar of the Kiev Metropolis Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka. 

“Of course, such support can be expected,” he said on the air of “1Kozak”.

According to the head of the UOC Mission to European international organizations, a meeting is held annually in Warsaw, during which representatives of the Governments of 57 OSCE member states discuss problems of protecting human rights and freedoms. Representatives of civil society and international institutions also take part in the meeting.

“This is the largest conference, the largest meeting held in Europe on human rights,” said Bishop Victor.

The permanent format for holding such meetings implies that all speakers must make recommendations at the end of their speech, Vladyka Victor explained. These recommendations are processed, after which they go to the OSCE documentary base and are transmitted orally and in writing to representatives of the Government of the state to which they are addressed.

Another form of human rights work is the OSCE monitoring missions, whose staff meet with representatives of the Church in the regions and collect up-to-date information on violations of the rights of believers, the UOC hierarch continued.

He also recalled the request of the four UN Special Rapporteurs to the Government of Ukraine of September 30, 2018. Among the authors of this request was the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief Ahmed Shahid.

According to Bishop Victor, the Government of Ukraine responded to this request only in May. In response, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that supposedly no seizures of churches were taking place in the country, everything was peaceful and calm.

“Even where the temple transferred, it is as if the state had built a new church for the UOC. But people build with their own hands,” added the UOC bishop.

We recall that on September 24, 2014, the NGO “Public Advocacy” organized the hotel event “Religious Freedom Today: The Situation of the Orthodox Churches of Ukraine, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia” during the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council. That day, the UN Human Rights Council discussed the issue of violations of the rights of UOC believers. Margarita Guk, a parishioner of the UOC church from the village of Buderazh, also took part in the session of the UN Human Rights Council.

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