The presentation of specific facts helps overcome information barriers and false information about “voluntary transfers” and the absence of pressure from the state.
Only during April 2019, the UOC Representation Office received more than 25 complaints from religious communities, Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka, the head of the UOC Representative Office to international organizations reports to the UOC Information and Education Department. Complaints were sent to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović, the UN Special Rapporteur on Religion and Belief Ahmed Shaheed, as well as to the UN Human Rights Council.
We recall that in October 2018, a group of UN Special Rapporteurs already sent a communication request to the Ukrainian government regarding systematic violations of the rights of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
“Now the UOC religious communities continue to send appeals with a statement of violations of their rights to the competent bodies authorized under international law to consider offences that occur at the state level. Such informing international organizations helps overcome information barriers and false information disseminated about supposedly voluntary transfers of religious communities of the UOC to another denomination and the absence of facts of pressure on believers from public authorities,” said the head of the UOC Representative Office to European international organizations.
Bishop Victor stressed that, in view of this, “religious organizations and believers of the UOC should continue to contact international bodies and institutions to report ‘first-hand’ about the facts of illegal pressure on believers, demands to change the denomination, calls of clerics to law enforcement agencies for interrogations, seizures of churches, registration of protocols of parish assemblies on the basis of a “meeting of territorial communities” and further illegal re-registration of a religious community, etc. “
As the UOJ reported, the UOC appealed to the UN, OSCE and the EU in connection with massive violations of the rights of believers.