Security Council: UN rights official raises concerns over Ukraine religious freedoms

The theme of the Council assembly briefing on Ukraine got here underneath the “Threats to Worldwide Peace and Safety” agenda merchandise. It was requested by Russia’s Everlasting Consultant, Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia, throughout an earlier Council assembly on 13 January, throughout which Mr. Nebenzia alleged that Ukraine is trying to “destroy” the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is canonically linked to the Moscow Patriarchate.

Destroyed residential constructing in Dnipro, Ukraine

1000’s of civilians killed

Earlier than addressing the query of spiritual freedoms, Ms. Manufacturers Kehris gave an outline of the extreme human rights and worldwide humanitarian legislation violations inflicted on the Ukrainian folks by Russia’s armed assault on the nation, and ensuing hostilities which, she stated, put numerous lives in danger, precipitated huge displacement and destroyed civilian infrastructure.

The senior UN human rights official documented the 1000’s of civilian casualties that the struggle has claimed since in started on 24 February 2022: the UN Human Rights Workplace has recorded greater than 7,000 civilians killed and greater than 11,000 injured, however the actual figures are believed to be a lot increased.

Ms. Manufacturers Kehris referenced the Russian missile assault on a residential constructing in Dnipro – which killed at the least 45 civilians, together with six youngsters, and injured at the least 79 – and Russian strikes on crucial infrastructure which have killed at the least 103 civilians and injured at the least 371, and precipitated main electrical energy and water shortages throughout the nation.

Within the Russian-occupied Donetsk and Luhansk areas, civilians have suffered from Ukrainian shelling of densely populated areas, stated Ms. Manufacturers Kehris: the Human Rights Workplace has recorded 498 civilians killed, together with 25 youngsters and 1,675 injured, together with 117 youngsters.

A Sunday mass celebration in the church of the Kyiv-Pechera Lavra, in Kyiv, Ukraine.

© UNICEF/Giacomo Pirozzi

 A Sunday mass celebration within the church of the Kyiv-Pechera Lavra, in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Deteriorating tensions between Orthodox communities

Ms. Manufacturers Kehris then turned to the considerations over restrictions to freedom of faith and freedom of affiliation throughout Ukraine, together with territory occupied by Russia.

Tensions between Orthodox communities in Ukraine existed for many years, she stated, however they deteriorated following the Russian Federation’s armed assault in opposition to Ukraine.

The UN official described Ukrainian Safety Service searches of Ukrainian Orthodox Church premises and locations of worship as “worrying developments”: at the least three clergy, she stated, at the moment are going through prison prices, together with for treason and denial of the “armed aggression” of the Russian Federation in opposition to Ukraine.

“We urge the Ukrainian authorities to make sure that any such searches in premises and locations of worship are in full compliance with worldwide legislation,” stated Ms. Manufacturers Kehris, “that honest trial rights are given to these going through prison prices, and that any prison sanctions are appropriate with the rights of freedom of opinion, expression and faith”.

Ms. Manufacturers Kehris shared the considerations of the Rights Workplace that two draft legal guidelines lately tabled within the Ukrainian Parliament might undermine the best to freedom of faith or perception, as enshrined in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. “Underneath worldwide human rights legislation, any limitations to the best to manifest one’s faith or perception have to be prescribed by legislation, crucial and proportionate”.

Concluding her handle to the Council, the senior UN official known as on each events to the battle to respect and be certain that the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, peaceable meeting, affiliation, and faith could be exercised with out discrimination by all.



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