27 May 2019, 18:35
Patriarch Kirill in meeting with Mijatovic asks Council of Europe to control observance of believers' rights in Ukraine
Strasbourg, May 27, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said he hopes the state policies on believers will change in Ukraine now that it has a new president and called on Council of Europe structures to take measures to protect them.
"I hope the change of the president in Ukraine will be followed by changes in the state policies in the sphere of human rights," the patriarch said in a meeting with Dunja Mijatovic, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.
The patriarch also called on the Council of Europe "to exercise control over the observance of people's right to choose their religion in Ukraine."
The patriarch also told Mijatovic the previous administration of Ukraine had adopted two laws that discriminate against believers.
"One of them prohibited the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from calling itself that. Despite the fact that the church was composed fully of Ukrainians they tried to present it as the Church of the Russian Federation. The second law encouraged parishes to change their jurisdiction. As a result, the flock protested and was then attacked physically. Such totally illegal practices existed before the election. We hope that this abuse will stop with the arrival of the new president," the patriarch said.
The flock started to go to court more often and courts "honestly did their work, despite the heavy political pressure," he said.
"Everything that is related to massive violations of religious rights that came from the Ukrainian executive administration was rejected by people. The outcome of the presidential election showed that people don't welcome the policies that were cultivated by the previous administration," Patriarch Kirill said.
Mijatovic, in turn, said she is informed about what is happening in Ukraine.
Mijatovic said she plans to visit Ukraine soon and then she will visit Russia. She said she hopes to meet with the patriarch during the visit.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia told Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland earlier on Monday he is concerned about human rights issues. "Human rights have concerned me lately as patriarch," he said while meeting with Jagland in Strasbourg on Monday.
"Rights and freedoms either unite people or divide them," the patriarch said, adding that the Council of Europe "promotes unification, with an emphasis on human rights." He said he "fully" understands the significance of the Council of Europe, which has formed "a foundation for possible integration of the European countries."
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