UOC hierarch calls to enhance response to violations of rights at OSCE

Bishop Victor (Kotsaba), Head of the Representation of the UOC to European International Organizations. Photo: news.church.ua

Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka took part in the OSCE annual meeting dedicated to religious freedom and protection of human rights.

On November 9, 2020, Bishop Victor (Kotsaba), Head of the Representation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to European International Organizations called for a more active response to systemic violations of the rights of believers in the UOC during the OSCE annual Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting (SHDM) on Freedom of Religion or Belief. This was reported by the Information and Education Department of the UOC.

The meeting, which was held online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was attended by representatives of OSCE states from Europe, North America and Asia, human rights and other non-governmental organizations.

During his speech, the hierarch stressed that violations of the UOC believers’ rights in Ukraine are still going on. In particular, he informed the representatives of the international community about the facts of beating of believers in the village of Zadubrivka, Chernivtsi region, and gross incitement of hatred in the city of Zolochiv, Lviv region. Bishop Victor also recalled that the problems of the seizure of the UOC churches and the discriminatory “law on renaming” remain unresolved.

The OSCE meeting participants were supplied with a written statement of the UOC Representation, which, among other things, contains a link to the documentary base of facts of violations of the believers’ rights of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, created by the human rights organization Public Advocacy and posted on the UN website in the form of written reports.

“In recent years, the UN and OSCE international human rights mechanisms have published quite a few documented facts of violations of the rights of believers in the UOC,” the Information and Education Department said in a statement. “Given that the international community has been informed by the Representation of the UOC to European International Organizations and human rights organizations for several years in a row, a natural question arises: what specific actions can international organizations, such as the OSCE and others, take to influence systemic and mass violations of the rights of believers and can we expect such influence to be effective? So far, this question remains rhetorical, but some of the available signs indicate that gradually the response of authoritative international organizations to the questions raised is beginning to take shape."

Some documents on the violation of the rights of believers of the UOC, which have been uploaded in the OSCE and UN systems in recent years, can be found at the links indicated on the website of the Information and Educational Department of the UOC.

Let us remind you that earlier Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) spoke about the performance of the Representation of the UOC to European International Organizations.

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