2022-10-10 22:57:00

UN concerned by state harassment of Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Moscow, October 10, Interfax - Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has expressed concern over Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) believers being harassed by secular authorities.

At the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council, which concluded in Geneva late last week, the OHCHR presented a report on the human rights situation in Ukraine, which among other things gathered evidence of violation of the rights of believers of the canonical Church of Ukraine between February 1 and July 31, 2022, the UOC information educational department stated on Monday.

"During the reporting period, local authorities in at least seven territorial communities in Kyiv, Sumy and Lviv regions temporarily suspended the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [...] for the duration of martial law. Local authorities, for instance the City Council of the Brovary District in Kyiv Region, also prohibited meetings, rallies, marches, as well as other mass events of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for the duration of martial law, without providing a clear justification for the prohibition," the report said.

This suspension "raises concerns" about its compliance with the international standards for human rights, the authorities did not explain reasons for the imposition of the measures, the document said. Furthermore, with the activities of other regional communities and organizations not suspended, such an unfavorable attitude towards the UOC can be regarded as discrimination on the ground of profession of faith or membership of a particular religious group, the UN said.

The UOC statement said: "The UN agencies taking into account these claims attests to manifestations of hatred and aggression, and acts of discrimination towards UOC religious organizations and believers being a subject of international monitoring and subsequent reaction from the international community."