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UN Human Rights Committee has recognized the …

UN Human Rights Committee has recognized the fact of violation of the rights of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

The observance of Ukraine’s international commitments was a subject for consideration at the 132nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Committee. On November 11, 2021, the committee published its decision in which it expressed concern for the reports about the violation of the rights of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. 

The document “Concluding observations on the eighth periodic report of Ukraine” states, “The committee is concerned at reports of violence, intimidation and acts of vandalism of places of worship in connection with the process of transitioning churches and religious communities from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the newly established Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The Committee is further concerned at the reported inaction of the police in such incidents and the lack of information on investigations conducted by the State party (art. 18).

The UN Human Rights Committee pointed out that Ukraine as the State party should in particular “guarantee the effective exercise of freedom of religion and belief, including by ensuring protection of places of worship against violence, intimidation and acts of vandalism; and ensure that all cases of violence are thoroughly and promptly investigated and sanctions”. 

The head of Public Advocacy, a non-government organization “, Oleg Denisov, in his comment on the published document stressed, “Undoubtedly, this decision of the Committee is a positive response of the international human rights organizations to the utter lawlessness with regard to the religious organizations and believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukraine; the more so that in this case it is an organization of the UN system enjoying the highest juridical status in the international law system. Actually, on the international level there is no weightier ways of international criticism of what is happening in Ukraine with regard to the UOC faithful. This decision shows the Ukrainian authorities the inadmissibility of the policy they pursue with regard to the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church”. 

As Oleg Denisov pointed out, such decisions also help refute the fake information alleging that the moves of communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to other confessions were totally “voluntary”. “Though the information processing in the UN system as a rule takes a very long time, the Human Rights Committee is the most systemic body among international organizations with a really working procedures of considering information and reports about human rights violations”, the head of Public Advocacy NGO stated. 

Earlier, the UN Human Rights Committee, having considered the Public Advocacy-initiated appeal on the case of violations of the human rights of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, made the decision that the eviction of the UOC religious organization from a church in Ivano-Frankovsk was unlawful. 

DECR Communication Service

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