December 2-3, 2021 Head of the UOC Representative Office to European International Organizations Bishop Baryshevsky Victor (Kotsaba) took part in the 14th session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues,Information and Educational Department of the UOC reports.
The event was held in a mixed (face-to-face and remote) format at the UN headquarters in Geneva, with the participation of the President of the Human Rights Council, Najat Shamim Khan, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Rights, Fernand deVarennes, representatives of delegations of UN member states and OSCE structures, international human rights and public organizations.
The forum discussed the problems of protecting the rights of minorities in different regions of the world and developed recommendations that will be sent to the bodies of the international legal mechanism for further work.
The UOC hierarch joined the meeting online. As a result, he said that the participants highlighted significant problems of protecting the rights of ethnic, national and religious communities in the modern world. Among other things, they stated that many countries have adopted laws containing blatantly discriminatory provisions.
«Unfortunately, Ukraine is not an exception in this aspect, because the so-called law ‘on renaming’ religious organizations of the UOC remains a problem, » Bishop Viktor noted.»The international image of Ukraine is also negatively affected by numerous facts of non-response of law enforcement agencies to statements of believers about committing crimes against them.»
Currently, he added, the international mechanism has already recognized the fact of violation of the rights of UOC believers by several decisions, and this is a positive trend.
In particular, the decision of the 132nd session of the UN Human Rights Committee of November 11, 2021, clearly required the State of Ukraine not only to ensure the investigation of crimes committed against religious communities and its members, but also to ensure the protection of places of worship from violence, intimidation and acts of vandalism.
In this regard, the leadership of the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine should immediately pay attention to the international outcry caused by violations of the rights of believers of the UOC, and take all necessary measures to correct the situation. And this is not about formally accepting applications from believers, but about actually countering violent clashes around churches and preventing any manifestations of discrimination and hatred against the UOC.