18 April 2016, 10:00
Dozens of UOC priests are subjected to attacks - human rights advocate
Moscow, April 18, Interfax - Priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are subjected to regular attacks from radical nationalists and persecutions of the Ukrainian Security Service, coordinator of the Human Rights Advocacy Group on Information about Crimes against personality Maxim Vilkov said.
"We have registered about 30 such attacks, including not only attacks and illegal detentions, but trials and even murders," the human rights advocate said at the additional OSCE session on Human Dimension Implementation held in Wien.
According to him, some UOC clerics were forced to leave Ukraine as nationalists and security services threatened them.
Vilkov also focused on arsons of Orthodox churches. "We registered 13 of such cases. Arsons of Orthodox churches are most often in Kiev. Lack of punishment for these crimes is very demonstrative," he said.
The expert also reported at least 36 attempts of seizing UOC churches taken in 2014-2015.
The human rights advocate urged the OSCE Monitoring Mission to pay special attention on all these cases and recommended to include new provisions regarding protections of rights of religious communities in the list of OSCE monitoring criteria of observing human rights in Ukraine.
He also suggested to hold a forum under OSCE auspices dedicated to manifestations of violence and hatred in Ukraine on confessional and jurisdictional characteristic as a factor influencing escalation of the Ukrainian conflict.
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