GENEVA. UOC delegation is taking part in the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council

10th to 13th October, in Geneva (Switzerland) the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council is currently taking place. With the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy of Kyiv and All Ukraine, a Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) delegation is taking part in the work of the session and is composed of: the Head of the UOC Representation to International European Organisations (UOC IEO) His Grace Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshivka, Deputy Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC Archpriest Mykolay Danylevych, Chairman of the NGO “Public Advocacy” Oleh Denysov, and lecturer of the Kyiv Theological Academy and Seminary (KDAiS) R. Yu. Smyk as an interpreter.

During the work of the session the status of the implementation by the Member States of the United Nations (UN) and their commitment to human rights, including the right to freedom of religion and non-discrimination will be examined. The list of countries that are in the line of sight of the United Nations at this session includes Ukraine. The next stage of the session will be held in November 2017, and will consist of the Member States, which are present at the current session, and the recommendations in the field of human rights from the other Member States of the United Nations will be looked at.

Currently the UOC delegation is conducting a number of meetings with the diplomatic missions of various States of the United Nations, during which it is presenting its position with regards to the facts surrounding the violations of the rights of believers, as well as the controversial legislative initiatives in the religious sphere (Draft bills Nos. 4128, 4511, 5309), included on the agenda of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (VRU).

Also, during their stay in Geneva, on October 10, the UOC delegation members gave a briefing in the headquarters of the World Council of Churches (WCC), during which they explained in detail about the current situation regarding the compliance of rights of UOC faithful in Ukraine. In particular, representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, thanked the WCC for its support, which has been expressed in a letter sent by the General Secretary Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit to the leadership of our state regarding the undesirability of the proposed adoption of the above-mentioned scandalous Draft bills in May, 2017. The briefing was attended by employees of the WCC, representatives of various confessions and religious organisations in the WCC as well as experts.

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