At 37th Session NGO Public Advocacy Submits a Statement to UNHRC on Prohibiting the Adoption of Bills Nos. 4128, 4511 and 5309 by the Parliament of Ukraine

The statement is addressed directly to the UN Human Rights Council and filed in accordance with the mandate of this body, which provides for the consideration of reports of violations and threats to peace and stability.

Therefore, in Ukraine there is a situation that threatens the religious stability.

In particular, the statement says that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church continues to report violations of its rights at the OSCE and UNHRC sites (see the statement of the Head of the UOC Representation to International Organizations Bishop Victor Kotsaba at the OSCE meeting on June 22-23, 2017); in addition, the facts of numerous violations of rights are confirmed by reports of the OSCE mission, reports of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the US State Department for Religious Freedom, as well as information messages of human rights organizations within the procedure of the Universal Periodic Review of the 28th session of the UNHRC.

Of particular concern is the possibility of the adoption by the Ukrainian Parliament of draft laws No. 4128, 4511, 5309, which introduce the legal concept of “self-identification” of a person with a religious community, impose exclusive commitments for one religious confession compared to others, and introduce the obligation to compulsorily change the existing names of religious communities. The proposals of the authors of the draft laws listed above do not meet the norms of international law, contradict the practice of regulating similar legal relations in the EU countries and the USA and lurk a threat to the religious peace and stability of Ukraine.

In this regard, NGO Public Advocacy calls on Ukrainian Parliamentarians to refrain from adopting these bills, and recommends that the international community support the state in order to prevent further violations of the rights of believers.

The full text of NGO Public Advocacy statement is posted on the UN website at the following link: https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G18/025/00/PDF/G1802500.pdf

The issues in question were also broached during the meeting of Head of NGO Public Advocacy O. Denisov with the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, who received the complaints of the UOC communities and documents relating to the issues raised. The competence of the Special Rapporteur includes examination of draft laws concerning religious issues and communication with states on religious rights.