UN rights official raises concerns over Ukraine religious freedoms


17 January 2023 Human Rights

Addressing the Safety Council on Tuesday, Ilze Manufacturers Kehris, the UN Assistant Secretary-Basic for Human Rights, expressed concern about restrictions to freedom of faith in Ukraine, together with territory below Russian management.

The theme of the Council assembly briefing on Ukraine got here below 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

Hundreds of civilians killed

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

The senior UN human rights official documented the hundreds of civilian casualties that the battle 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 larger.

Ms. Manufacturers Kehris referenced the Russian missile assault on a residential constructing in Dnipro – which killed at the least 45 civilians, together with six kids, and injured at the least 79 – and Russian strikes on important infrastructure which have killed at the least 103 civilians and injured at the least 371, and brought on 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, mentioned Ms. Manufacturers Kehris: the Human Rights Workplace has recorded 498 civilians killed, together with 25 kids and 1,675 injured, together with 117 kids.

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© 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 mentioned, however they deteriorated following the Russian Federation’s armed assault towards 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 mentioned, are actually dealing with felony prices, together with for treason and denial of the “armed aggression” of the Russian Federation towards 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,” mentioned Ms. Manufacturers Kehris, “that truthful trial rights are given to these dealing with felony prices, and that any felony 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 just lately tabled within the Ukrainian Parliament may undermine the best to freedom of faith or perception, as enshrined in Article 18 of the Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. “Below worldwide human rights legislation, any limitations to the best to manifest one’s faith or perception should 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 sure that the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, peaceable meeting, affiliation, and faith might be exercised with out discrimination by all.

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UN Picture/Loey Felipe

Ilze Manufacturers Kehris (on display), Assistant Secretary-Basic for Human Rights for the Workplace of the UN Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights, addresses the Safety Council assembly on threats to worldwide peace and safety.

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