RUSSIAN CHURCH CALLS ON OSCE TO STRENGTHEN MONITORING OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN UKRAINE
Interfax-Religiia, 2 April 2019
A representative of the Moscow patriarchate called for expanding the mandate of the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine in the direction of collecting information about violations of religious liberty.
"We have received information about numerous violations of the rights of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," the vice-chairman of the synod's Department for Relations of Church with Society and News Media, Vakhtang Kipshidze, declared at a conference of the OSCE in Austria.
In his opinion, it is necessary to expand the mandate of the Special Monitoring Mission of the OSCE in Ukraine in such a way so that it would collect and present to the international community incidents of numerous violations of religious liberty by the authorities of Ukraine.
V. Kipshidze also recalled that in 2014 the Venice commission approved the "guiding principles relative to the legal standing of religious communities," earlier developed by the Bureau for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
"These principles speak of the obligations of the state, while granting the status of legal entity to religious communities, to ensure the legal possibility of resolving thereby issues about their leadership, internal rules, structure of a community, and methods of appointing clergy, and also about their name," the representative of the RPTs recalled.
He also called attention to the fact that the so-called law about renaming, adopted in Ukraine, in the most blatant way violated the "guiding principles" and should have a legal evaluation by the Venice commission, especially in light of the threats to deprive the Ukrainian church of the rights of legal entity which were heard from the developer of this "discriminatory law," Rada Deputy Viktor Elensky. (tr. by PDS, posted 2 April 2019)
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