Director of the Department of Religious Affairs and Nationalities of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine Andriy Yurash said this to Ukrinform, while commenting on untrue media reports that at a UN meeting in Geneva on November 15, Ukraine was criticized for violating the rights of the UOC-MP.
"No foreign delegation had any claims to Ukraine regarding alleged violation of religious rights, and nobody asked for anything from our state," he said.
Yurash himself participated in the meetings of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council and delivered a speech there.
The report submitted by Ukraine was discussed by 77 UN member states. In their speeches, participants most often voiced problems of ensuring the rights of national minorities, children, and displaced persons. Religious issues were raised by Russia and Greece in their speeches.
"Greece appealed to Ukraine to pay attention to ensuring the rights of religious and national minorities and stressed the need to respect the internal rules of every religious organization," Yurash said. "This is an absolutely universal statement, with which we fully agree. The Russian delegation repeated the same general desire to ensure the rights of religious organizations. These are two points that sounded during the discussion that lasted three and a half house. Nothing concrete was said," he added.
Yurash also added that the UOC-MP's hierarchy constantly puts forward the thesis that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is persecuted.
"I travel a lot, and this thesis is not confirmed anywhere. Moreover, in the regions the bishops openly wonder why the center should deliberately simulate the situation and make accusations that cannot be confirmed. Their question is who benefits from this," he said.
Instead, according to Yurash, this religious organization (UOC-MP) itself uses negative expressions concerning other denominations at various international forums.
The official gave such an example, a fragment of the speech of Metropolitan Luka (Kovalenko), Archbishop of Zaporizhia, at a conference in Greece entitled "Modern methods of discrimination of the UOC in Ukraine": "The schismatic led by Mykhailo Denysenko and Uniates headed by Sviatoslav Shevchuk." That is, we have a set of offensive definitions for other denominations. The proper names are not used, but disregard for the leaders of the churches is used. In this context, what may be the response of the society and those religious organizations to which such a disreputable form of communication is used?"
"The state cannot but react to this provocative conduct. The state should give a proper definition of when the manipulation takes place. If we continue this position, then the crucified boys are not so far," the director of the department said.
The information websites of the UOC-MP and related media outlets earlier spread untrue reports that Ukraine was criticized by the United Nations in Geneva on November 15 for violating the rights of the UOC-MP.
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