HomeUnited NationsSafety Council: UN rights standard raises concerns over Ukraine religious freedoms

Safety Council: UN rights standard raises concerns over Ukraine religious freedoms

UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Destroyed Residential Building in Dnipro, Ukraine.
Ms. Manufacturers Kehris shared the issues of the Rights Office that two draft laws recently tabled in the Ukrainian Parliament could undermine the right in order to freedom of religion or even belief, as enshrined in Article 18 of the International Covenant upon Civil and Political Rights. “Under worldwide human rights law, any kind of limitations to the right to manifest one’s religion or belief must be prescribed by law, essential and proportionate”.

Destroyed residential building in Dnipro, Ukraine

Thousands of civilians killed

The UN official explained Ukrainian Security Service lookups of Ukrainian Orthodox Church premises and places associated with worship as “worrying developments”: at least three clergy, the lady said, are now facing criminal charges, including for treason and denial of the “armed aggression” of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. Ms. Brand names Kehris referenced the Russian missile attack on a home building in Dnipro – which killed at least 45 civilians, including six kids, and injured at least 79 – and Russian attacks on critical infrastructure that have killed at least 103 civilians and injured at least 371, and caused major electricity and water shortages across the country. In the Russian-occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions, civilians have got suffered from Ukrainian shelling of densely populated areas, stated Ms. Brands Kehris: the Human Rights Office has recorded 498 civilians killed, including 25 children and one, 675 injured, including 117 children. Concluding her address to the Council, the senior UN official called on both parties to the issue to respect and ensure which the rights to freedom associated with opinion and expression, tranquil assembly, association, and religious beliefs can be exercised without discrimination by all.

A Sunday mass celebration in the church of the Kyiv-Pechera Lavra, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
© WFP/Viktor Pesenti

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

Deteriorating tensions between Orthodox communities

The theme from the Council meeting briefing on Ukraine came under the “Threats to International Peace plus Security” agenda item. It was requested by Russia’s Long lasting Representative, Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia, during an earlier Council meeting on 13 January, during which Mr. Nebenzia alleged that Ukraine is attempting to “destroy” the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, which is canonically linked to the Moscow Patriarchate. “We desire the Ukrainian authorities to make sure that any such searches in property and places of worship are in full compliance with international law, ” mentioned Ms. Brands Kehris, “that fair trial rights get to those facing criminal charges, and that any criminal sanctions are compatible with the rights associated with freedom of opinion, manifestation and religion”. Before dealing with the question of religious freedoms, Ms. Brands Kehris provided an overview of the severe individual rights and international humanitarian education law violations inflicted around the Ukrainian people by Russia’s armed attack on the country, and ensuing hostilities which usually, she said, put numerous lives at risk, caused huge displacement and destroyed civilian infrastructure. The senior UN human rights official noted the thousands of civilian casualties that the war has claimed since in began upon 24 February 2022: the UN Human Rights Workplace has recorded more than 7, 000 civilians killed and more than 11, 000 wounded, but the real figures are believed to be much higher. © UNICEF/Giacomo Pirozzi Ms. Brands Kehris then turned to the concerns over restrictions to independence of religion and independence of association across Ukraine, including territory occupied by Russia.

Ilze Brands Kehris (on screen), Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, addresses the Security Council meeting on threats to international peace and security.
Ilze Brands Kehris (on screen), Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights for the Office of the UN High Commissioner to get Human Rights, addresses the safety Council meeting on dangers to international peace plus security.

Tensions between Orthodox communities in Ukraine been around for decades, she said, however they deteriorated following the Russian Federation’s armed attack against Ukraine.


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