UN Human Rights Committee again demands that Russia roll back eviction of Ukrainian church from temple in occupied Simferopol

23:40, 20 September 2019

According to the ruling of the Russia-controlled court, OCU clerics must vacate the premises before September 23.

The UN Human Rights Committee (OHCHR) again demanded that Russia not evict the Crimean Diocese of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine from Simferopol’s Volodymyr and Olha Cathedral. This was announced on Facebook by an expert wuth the Regional Center for Human Rights, Serhiy Zayets.

“While at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, Russian representatives say that everything is fine in Crimea, the seizure of the last remaining temple in Simferopol continues,” he said. Zayets added that according to the decision of the occupation court, OCU clerics must vacate the premises before September 23.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Simferopol’s Volodymyr and Olha Cathedral, the only temple of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine that is left in Russia-occupied Crimea, has been looted and plundered. Archbishop of the OCU’s Crimean Diocese Klyment said that all church property belonging to the Crimea Diocese’s Administration had been stolen.

The archbishop said that the “ministry of property and land relations” of occupied Crimea stood behind the plundering of the church disguised as “internal repairs,” while Klyment set off to Washington, D.C., to attend a conference on religious freedom.

On June 8, the “arbitration court” of Crimea ruled to terminate the lease of premises, which before the occupation was concluded with the Crimean Diocese of the then-Kyiv Patriarchate (the entity that in December 2018 was dissolved in favor of founding the Orthodox Church of Ukraine).

The “court” obliged the church to return the premises to the Crimean occupation authorities and pay RUB 12,000 in duties to the Federal budget of the Russian Federation. The formal reason for contract termination was the debt worth UAH 2.3 (approximately 9 U.S. cents).

On August 2, the occupation authorities of Crimea again refused to register the Crimean diocese of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. On August 19, the OCU’s Crimean Diocese appealed the eviction ruling. On August 29, more than 50 OCU parishioners in Crimea turned to the UN Human Rights Committee because of the occupation of the last remaining temple of the OCU’s Crimean diocese by the invaders.

On September 3, the Russian-controlled “court of appeals” in Sevastopol upheld the eviction ruling. On September 9, the UN Human Rights Committee banned Russia from evicting the Crimean diocese from a temple in the occupied Simferopol. The Crimean Human Rights Group for several years has been fixing the facts of Russian occupation authorities in Crimea systematically violating religious freedoms.

The Group’s leader, Olha Skrypnyk, stressed that during the occupation period, almost all religious communities and organizations were subjected to harassment, restrictions, and persecution, except for the church of the Moscow Patriarchate.

(C) UNIAN 2019


What is your opinion?