Home page News
Head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church representation t…

Head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church representation to European international organizations: Bill No. 5309 shows apparent disregard for European legal values

Interview given by Bishop Victor of Barushevka, head of the UOC representation to European international organizations, to the Information and Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

 

Your Eminence, in recent days, voices have been heard from various resources about a danger for the parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, considering that the Ukrainian Supreme Rada has adopted Bill No. 5305 providing for a change in the names of our Church’s religious organizations. What can you say about this?

 

-  I would like to note that actually the adopted Bill No. 5309 applies only to the religious organizations having governing center located in the state recognized by law as a state that has carried out a military aggression against Ukraine and has temporarily occupied the territory of Ukraine. However, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is subject to the governing center located in Kiev. For this reason, this law does not apply to our organization.

 

-  Yes, but perhaps the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and other state bodies will see it otherwise. In this case, what the religious organizations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are to expect?

 

-  We understand that in this particular historical period, certain political forces, which are in power in Ukraine today, have chosen to put pressure upon our confession. That is why we are called to defend people’s rights against the arbitrariness of power bodies. If public servants interpret this law arbitrarily and demand that the names of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s communities should be changed, then our religious organizations will have the right to challenge the actions of such public servants or state bodies in court, and this means that lawsuits will continue in Ukraine.

 

-  What are the prospects of such disputes, in your view?

 

 From the legal point of view, there are prospects as, indeed, even the Ukrainian Supreme Rada chief office of scientific expertise has made a negative assessment of this bill and recommended that it should be declined. I would like to point out that, as the office affirms, this bill ‘goes beyond the limits established by respective provisions of Article 35 of the Constitution and Ukrainian Law ‘On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations’, according to which the exercise of the right to freedom of worldview and faith can be limited by law only in specific cases’. Quite eloquent is also the quotation from Par 3, Item II of the conclusion of the same office, noting that ‘considering the above, there are grounds to believe that the bill provisions contain signs of contradiction to the Ukrainian Constitution which exclude any possibility for establishing special demands with regard to the names and content of the statutes (provisions) of religious organizations (associations)’. Thus, specialists in law in both state and non-stat sphere are well aware that the law on changing the names of religious organizations is an unsuccessful political step.

 

There are also other guarantees of respect for the rights and freedoms of believing citizens. In particular, according to the Ukrainian Constitution Article 22, in adopting new laws it is not allowed to decrease the volume of human rights and freedoms, that is to say, if the faithful have had the right to confess their views as members of a religious community with certain unique name, they preserve the same right also in future regardless of what is provided by a new law; indeed the Ukrainian Constitution has the highest legal force.

 

Besides, at the stage of application of this law, public servants may encounter problems: indeed, actually they have no right to prohibit a religious organization from putting any names on its facilities or in its corporate details.

 

-  How will the adopted Bill 5309 be assessed on international level?

 

-  Unfortunately, by adopting this law our politicians have again offered an opportunity for criticizing soundly the level of legal culture in Ukraine. The European standards in various spheres, including the quality of the legal system for respect of human rights, do not allow the state power to make such steps as made by this law – which will become for a long time ‘a black spot’ in the history of Ukrainian parliamentarism and will resound on international level as an example of ill-considered political step. Of course, all the experts and international organizations, which have already received the text of this law, obviously see that it violates human rights and aims at putting unlawful pressure on one confession – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The international community is aware of the value of human rights and the need to respect the established legal order, while the adopted Bill No. 5309 manifests an apparent disregard for the European legal values on the part of Ukrainian legislators. In case the religious organizations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are subjected to increasing pressure, the number of complaints to be sent to the UN Human Rights Council, UN special rapporteurs, European Court for Human Rights and other international instances will increase – which cannot but lead to an adequate legal response by these institutions. However, as it is important for every state not to allow such state of affairs when its citizens begin complaining en mass about violations of their rights, we do not give up the hope that the disputed situation, if any, will be resolved positively at the level of the national legal system.

 

Website of the Information and Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

DECR Communication Service

Share:
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill celebrates Liturgy on the Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple

04.12.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with Romania’s ambassador to Russia

30.11.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill receives congratulatory messages on his 75th birthday from heads and representatives of Christian confessions in Russia

26.11.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with Chair of the Senate of Kazakhstan Maulen Ashimbayev

25.11.2021

Pope Francis of Rome and hierarchs of the Roman Catholic Church congratulate His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on his 75th birthday

25.11.2021

Congratulations from His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church on his 75th birthday

24.11.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill congratulated on his 75th birthday by inter-Christian organizations and international charities

24.11.2021

Patriarch Kirill's condolences over the death of people in a car crash in western Bulgaria

23.11.2021

Congratulations from His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on his 75th birthday

23.11.2021

Patriarch Kirill: Patriarch Bartholomew considers himself to be not first among equals but first above all the rest

20.11.2021

Congratulations to Patriarch Kirill on his 75th birthday sent by heads and representatives of foreign Protestant churches and organizations

20.11.2021

Primate of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia congratulates His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on his 75th birthday

20.11.2021

Congratulation sent by Primate of the Polish Orthodox Church to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on his 75th birthday

20.11.2021

Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church holds online meeting

08.11.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill answers questions put to him by Forbes France.

26.10.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill celebrates Liturgy on the Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple

04.12.2021

The Fifth Conference on Theology in Academic-Educational Space completes its work

04.12.2021

Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion speaks at the opening of the V All-Russian Theology within the Scientific and Educational Expanse conference

02.12.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: our neighbor is that person who needs our mercy

28.11.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion speaks at the Russian National Forum of Young Theologians

27.11.2021

“Reading the Bible Together” audio project timed to the 75th birthday of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill is presented at Chernigov Metochion in Moscow

24.11.2021

Meeting of the Board of the Christian Inter-confessional Consultative Committee

24.11.2021

DECR Chairman: Ukrainian authorities have every opportunity to stop the wave of persecution against the UOC

23.11.2021

The International Cooperation Commission of the Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations meets for a regular session

23.11.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: For the first time the violation of rights of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is recognized on an international platform

21.11.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion describes as groundless the USA statements about “the violation of religious freedoms” in Russia

21.11.2021

DECR Chairman visits the Permanent Mission of Russia to the UN in New York

17.11.2021

DECR chairman visits Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA

16.11.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion welcomes the decision of the UN Human Rights Committee on the persecutions against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

16.11.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Patriarch Bartholomew legalized the schism while pretending to heal it

15.11.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord has commanded us to love every human being

31.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: on the Feast of the Holy Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos we glorify the heavenly intercession of the Mother of God

14.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Many things in a person's life depend on faith

29.08.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Holy Spirit is the main treasure of the Christian soul

01.08.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Holiness is a constant striving to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ

27.06.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: God does not want to condemn, but to save us

07.03.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord always grants to us the opportunity to display our talents

24.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord has imbued the waters of Jordan with his divine presence to wash away human sins

19.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: to repent means to change your way of life

17.01.2021

On commemoration day of St. Catherine, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk officiated at the Church of St. Catherine the Great Martyr In-the-Fields  the representation of the Orthodox Church in America

07.12.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We can always show compassion for people

29.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion celebrates on commemoration day of St. Varlaam of Khutyn at the church of ‘Joy to All the Afflicted’ icon of the Mother of God

19.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We should remember that the life of each human being is in the hands of God

06.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: For God there is nothing impossible

25.10.2020

Metropoplitan Hilarion: The cross which was an instrument of dishonourable execution becomes the symbol of salvation for millions of people

27.09.2020

Page is available in the following languages
Feedback

Fields marked by * are mandatory required

Send a message
Рус Укр Eng Deu Ελλ Fra Ita Бълг ქარ Срп Rom عرب