Discrimination against UOC believers to be considered at the UN

The head of the NGO “Public Advocacy” Oleg DenisovĀ commented to the UOJ on the information that the mayor of Pochaev Vasily Boyko is going to
“speak at the UN against the Ukrainian Church in defense of the Moscow Patriarchate” and that for this purpose he consults with the head of the “Public Advocacy”.

“The mayor of Pochaev did not apply to our human rights organization, we requested him because we received complaints from residents of the city who were concerned about the behaviour of some citizens at the city council session,” Oleg Denisov told the UOJ. “And since our organization has been monitoring the observance of human rights in the aspect of freedom of religion since 2015, we sent relevant inquiries to the mayor’s Office. And, as we found out, a statement was sent to the police signed by the head of the Pochaev City Council, but this document was sent not solely by the mayor, but on behalf of all the deputies of the Pochaev City Council. Such a reaction was caused by inadequate actions of citizen V. Gabor and other persons who behaved in a provocative manner, threatened the deputies, which is confirmed by the corresponding video evidence. We believe that these actions are an offense that can lead to criminal liability. Currently, the investigation is underway.”

Oleg Denisov expressed regret that some “unscrupulous journalists are not taking a neutral stance, but creating new grounds for hate rhetoric”. For example, the human rights activist was surprised that the mayor of Pochaev was accused of speaking out against the “Ukrainian Church” only on the basis of the fact that he does not oppose the transfer of the plot of land to the Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra.

As for the allegedly speedy appearance of the mayor at the UN, Oleg Denisov said that the mayor simply does not have the authority to do so.

“The conclusions that the mayor allegedly submitted some questions to the 28th session of the HRC for consideration are not true, since the existing procedure allows UN agencies to receive information messages from a limited number of persons.”

At the same time, the human rights advocate drew attention to the fact that his organization has the right to submit requests to the UN.

“For our part, we consider the actions of persons who attempted to disrupt the Pochaev City Council session to be the manifestation of discrimination and religious intolerance,” Denisov said. “Our organization is monitoring this case and, if necessary, we will react to the further development of the conflict, including through the structures of the international human rights mechanism. And discriminatory actions against believers of the UOC will be considered at the UN.”

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