NGO "Public Advocacy”: OCU had no right to serve in the Upper Lavra
The facts of discrimination against the UOC will be brought to international human rights organizations – the UN Human Rights Council, and UN special rapporteurs, said Oleg Denysov.
The head of the NGO “Public Advocacy”, Oleg Denysov, said that the Ukrainian state authorities did not grant the OCU proper legal rights to hold services in the Upper Lavra on Christmas and violated the rights of the UOC.
"The OCU legal entities did not receive any special permission from the state authorities to hold a service on the premises of the monastery on January 7, 2023. Also, at the time of the service, there were no signed agreements between the OCU and the state authorities regarding the premises of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra," Denysov said.
According to the human rights activist, the information that the Ministry of Culture granted the OCU permission to hold worship services in the temples of the Upper Lavra is false and is refuted by the letters of response provided by the Ministry of Culture to requests from Ukrainian citizens sent at the initiative of the human rights organization.
"In particular, the Ministry claims that it did not object to the OCU's worship in the Lavra, which is not the same as 'granted permission'," he said.
Oleg Denysov said that the leadership of the UOC Holy Dormition Monastery on January 4, 2023, sent a letter to the Ministry of Culture saying that the contract for the use of the Dormition Cathedral and the Refectory Church was valid, given the Cabinet of Ministers' decision to ban termination of rental contracts during martial law. The Ministry of Finance did not respond to this appeal by noting that these agreements were terminated or that the UOC Holy Dormition Monastery had lost its rights to the Dormition Cathedral and the Refectory Church.
"On the contrary, the content of the answers leads to the conclusion that the Reserve and the Ministry only do not want to consider the renewal of the contracts with the UOC until the completion of the verification, provided by the decision of the National Security Council of December 01, 2022. At the same time, the Ministry and the Reserve are avoiding a direct answer to the question of whether the contracts with the UOC Holy Dormition Monastery are valid or terminated," he added.
Given the absence of direct answers from the Ministry and the Reserve about the termination of contracts with the UOC Holy Dormition Monastery, the fact of their termination cannot be established in any way at this time and the actual banning of UOC believers from using the temples of the Upper Lavra from January 1, 2023, is done without any proper legal grounds, said Oleg Denysov.
The human rights activist concluded that in fact there is discrimination against the UOC believers and non-compliance with the rule of law when making decisions that are of great public importance.
According to him, the stated facts will be brought to the attention of international human rights organizations – the UN Human Rights Council, UN special rapporteurs, as well as other bodies and individuals whose mandates include addressing human rights violations in the field of religious freedom, non-discrimination and the rule of law.
As earlier reported, the human rights defender said that UOC lawyers should sue the unlawful actions of the SBU.