AUCCRO condemns signing of Istanbul Convention without public discussion

The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches believes that when signing the Istanbul Convention, the opinion of Ukrainian society was disregarded. Photo:

The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations called the signing and ratification of the Istanbul Convention a hasty and undemocratic decision.

On June 23, 2022, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations condemned the haste and undemocratic conduct of Ukraine by signing and ratifying the Istanbul Convention. The official statement is published on the website of the organization.

The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations called "a wake-up call for democracy in Ukraine" the speed with which the Parliament voted and the President signed the law on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. “Instead of a civilized discussion, religious figures and believers, who had substantiated their comments on the content of the Convention, recently faced numerous manifestations of hate speech from a number of supporters of the ratification of this document in various media,” the AUCCRO said.

The organization recalled that President Vladimir Zelensky on December 17, 2021, and Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk on February 4, 2022, promised religious figures to have additional consultations and public discussions about differences in views with regard to the Istanbul Convention.

The society was never explained how the Istanbul Convention would improve the current legislation of Ukraine on combating domestic violence, the AUCCRO noted, and whether it is possible to achieve improvements in this area without acceding to the Convention.

Christian parents of different faiths are concerned about Article 14 of the Convention, which requires the inclusion in the school curriculum of "teaching material on issues such as ... non-stereotypical gender roles." Parents fear that this will turn into propaganda of same-sex relationships.

In addition, the AUCCRO called “the manifestation in the media space of intolerance towards the opinion of the religious community, unwillingness to engage in dialogue, denial of the right of religious associations to participate in the public life of the country” as an alarming signal.

The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, as a public union, has the right to participate in public discussions on important state decisions. “The presence or absence of religious beliefs does not limit citizens in their right to express their position, therefore, attempts under the slogans of the struggle for freedom to restrict a number of basic human rights, such as freedom of conscience, religion and freedom of speech, are unacceptable to us,” the Council said.

According to the AUCCRO, freedom of thought, speech and expression of views should be preserved in Ukrainian society – without hatred and threats for those who express a different opinion.

The Council of Churches is determined to actively fight against domestic violence, thereby protecting the moral, spiritual, family values traditional for the Ukrainian people, but spoke out against the imposition of artificial ideological constructs on society that contradict human nature as God's creation.

The statement recalled that in Ukraine more than 100 local councils of all levels (regional, municipal, rural) voted against the ratification of the Istanbul Convention and, on behalf of their electorate, spoke out against attempts to integrate gender ideology into the legislation and public life of Ukraine.

As the UOJ wrote, the Miriane urged not to give up after the ratification of the Istanbul Convention.

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