UOC Chancellor reports attempts to ban UOC to EU ambassadors
The UOC Chancellor has sent a letter to EU ambassadors and international organizations informing them of attempts to ban or suspend the Church's activities.
On June 16, the UOC Chancellor, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, wrote letters to ambassadors of the European Union, the UN, the OSCE and other international organizations telling them about numerous cases of illegal decisions of local governments of Ukraine to ban or suspend the activities of the UOC, reports the DECR press service.
In particular, such decisions were made by the Boryspil City Council on May 6, 2022, and the Brovary City Council on June 13, 2022. As the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Vladyka Anthony, said in a letter that there are currently 36 such cases across Ukraine. Illegal decisions to restrict or ban activities of the UOC were taken in Vinnytsia, Volyn, Zhytomyr, Transcarpathian, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv, Lviv, Rivne, Sumy, Ternopil, Khmelnytskyi and Cherkasy regions.
Metropolitan Anthony drew foreign diplomats' attention to the fact that such bans contradict a number of international legal norms:
- The European Convention on Human Rights, article 9, paragraph 1 of which states: " Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance;
- Recommendation 1202 (1993) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (44th ordinary session), which states in paragraph 15: "The secular state should not impose any religious obligations on its citizens. It should also encourage respect for all recognised religious communities and ease their relations with society as a whole";
- The final document of the Vienna meeting of representatives of member states of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (January 19, 1989), where para 16.1 says that the state is obliged "to take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination against persons or associations on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all areas of civil, political, economic, social and cultural life and to ensure real equality between believers and unbelievers".
According to Metropolitan Anthony, the above decisions of some local authorities "also contradict Article 35 of the Constitution of Ukraine and Paragraph 9 and Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law of Ukraine "On the legal regime of martial law", because local authorities cannot prohibit the activities of a religious organization during martial law, they are not even empowered to raise the issue of prohibiting the activities of a religious organization.
"Metropolitan Anthony asked foreign diplomats to inform their governments about the mentioned cases of violations of human rights and the right to freedom of conscience and religion in Ukraine," the DECR message said.