Ukraine. Restrictions on religious freedom in the country, concern in the Security Council
The request was made by Russia’s permanent representative, Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, during the Council’s last meeting on January 13, during which he accused Ukraine of trying to ‘destroy’ the Orthodox Church. Ukrainian, which is a classic liturgy in Moscow. .
thousands of civilian deaths
Ilze Marques Kehris presented an overview of the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law perpetrated against the Ukrainian people by the armed invasion of Russia, before addressing the issue of religious freedom.
He said that as a result of these hostilities, the lives of countless people were in danger, there was large-scale displacement and the destruction of basic civic infrastructure.
A senior UN human rights official claims thousands of civilian casualties since the war began on February 24, 2022: united nations human rights office The UN has recorded more than 7,000 civilian deaths and more than 11,000 injuries, but it is believed that the true number could be much higher.
Ilze Brands Kehris cited a Russian missile attack on a residential building in Dnipro – which killed at least 45 civilians, including six children, and injured around 79 – and Russian attacks on critical infrastructure which killed at least 103 civilians and 371 people were injured. For this reason, the crisis of electricity and water shortage has also arisen across the country.
Ilze Brands Kehris said Ukrainian civilians in Russian-occupied Donetsk and Luhansk, densely populated civilian areas, were injured in the shelling: the human rights office recorded 498 dead among the civilians, including 25 children. In addition, 1,675 people were injured, including 117 children.
Growing tensions between Orthodox communities
Subsequently, Ilze Brands Kehris expressed concern about restrictions on freedom of religion and freedom of association throughout Ukraine, including Russian-occupied territory.
He said tensions between Orthodox communities in Ukraine have existed for decades, but the situation has worsened after the Russian Federation’s armed aggression against Ukraine.
A UN official described searches of Ukrainian Orthodox Church premises and places of worship by Ukrainian security services as a “worrying development”: she noted that at least three priests are currently facing criminal charges, including treason and defiance of Ukraine. armed aggression” against the Russian Federation.
Ilze Brands Kehris said: “We urge the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that such searches of premises and places of worship fully comply with international law.
He called for the “right to a fair trial for those facing criminal charges, and for any criminal sanction to be compatible with the rights to freedom of opinion, expression and religion”.
Ilze Brands Kehris also shared the concerns of the human rights office regarding two bills recently presented to the Ukrainian parliament, Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights may infringe the right to freedom of religion or belief, as set out in the
“Under international human rights law, any limitation on the right to manifest one’s religion or beliefs must be properly and uniformly determined by law.”
Concluding her address to the Council, the senior UN official called on both parties to the conflict to respect and ensure that the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly, association and exercise of religion, any discrimination can be made.