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On November 9, Bishop Victor of Baryshivka, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s representation to European international organizations, attended the annual OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting (SHDM) on Freedom of Religion or Belief. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held online. Participating in it were representatives of states from Europe, North America and Asia and non-governmental human rights organizations, the Representation press-service reports.

In his remarks, Bishop Victor noted that in Ukraine violations of the rights of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church continued. In particular, he reported to the international community the facts of beatings of the faithful in the Zadubrovka village, Chernovtsy Region, and gross fermentation of enmity at the Zolochev town, Lvov Region, and reminded the meeting that the problems of capturing churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and of the discriminatory ‘law on renaming’ still remained unsolved.

A written statement of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Representation was distributed to the participants in the conference. It contains references to the document database on facts of violations of the rights of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which was created by the Public Advocacy human rights organization and placed on the UN website in the form of written reports. In recent years, a considerable amount of documentary evidence on the violation of rights of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was published through the UN and OSCE human rights mechanism.

Considering the fact that the informing of the international community has been made by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s Representation to European international organizations and by human rights organizations for several years now, a natural question arises: what are the specific actions that can be undertaken by international organizations such as the OSCE and others to make an influence on a situation of mass and systemic violations of the rights of believers and is it possible to expect that this influence will be effective? At present this question remains open, but there are some signs showing that the reaction of authoritative international organizations to the raised question is gradually beginning to form, the Representation press service reports.

Some documents on the violations of the rights of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which have been placed on the OSCE and UN internet resources in recent years, are available on the website of the UN documents, the Russian Orthodox Church official portal reports with reference to the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

DECR Communication Service