Hate rhetoric is heard against the UOC in the media, as well as statements by some officials and politicians testify to the incitement of religious hatred, which causes extreme concern and requires a response from the international community.
This was stated by the head of the human rights organization NGO Public Advocacy Oleg Denisov on May 11, 2021 at an intersessional meeting of the UN Human Rights Council. He spoke about the formation in the socio-political sphere of Ukraine of a negative image of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the violation of the rights of the UOC communities due to the adoption of the so-called law on renaming by the Verkhovna Rada, according to the Public Advocacy website.
The human rights activist noted that now there is a tendency for some states to interfere in the affairs of religious confessions, which violates fundamental human rights, which undermines the foundations of social stability, and in some cases poses a threat to religious peace.
“In particular, in Ukraine, North Macedonia, and, until recently, Montenegro, central government bodies at the level of bills, as well as laws that have come into force, encourage inequality between religious confessions, and in some cases, openly discriminate by giving advantages to certain confessions. and restricting the legal rights of others,” he said at a meeting at the UN.
The statement says that in Ukraine, with the entry into force of the so-called Law on Renaming, more than 12 thousand religious organizations are actually deprived of the right to freely dispose of their property, open bank accounts, amend their statutes, since, according to the law, their constituent documents are recognized invalid in terms of the name. “Therefore, the communities, although they have not lost their status of a legal entity, are actually struck in civil rights, are deprived of the opportunity to be full-fledged participants in civil circulation,” the document says.
The obligation to change the name of a religious organization against the free will of its members violates the canonical, historical and religious identity of believers, as well as the right to freedom of religion, which is guaranteed by international law. “Undoubtedly, believers should be retained the right to preserve the historical names of their religious communities, and the state cannot interfere in this area of church life,” the statement said.
The human rights activist drew the attention of diplomats to the fact that in a number of international documents, in particular in the Guidelines for the Analysis and Prevention of Genocide, developed by the Office of the UN Secretary General, targeting and labeling a certain part of the population as a potential victim or target based on racial, ethnic or religious signs – indicates a high risk of massive violations of human rights in the country.
“In this regard, the formation in the socio-political sphere of Ukraine of a negative image of the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as supporters of the Russian Federation, recognized in Ukraine as an aggressor state, combined with the rhetoric of hatred in the media and statements by officials and politicians of different levels, testifies to the incitement of religious enmity in attitude towards this group of believers, which causes extreme concern and requires a response from the international community,” concluded Oleg Denisov.