Belarus calls upon Ukraine to respect rights of believers

MINSK, 16 September (BelTA) – The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs insists that Ukrainian authorities should respect fundamental human rights, rights of believers, and universally recognized democratic norms. The Ukrainian authorities should also abide by principles of humanism. Anatoly Glaz, Head of the Information and Digital Diplomacy Office, Press Secretary of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the statement in response to the statement made by the office of the Ukrainian president about the situation with Hasidic Jews, who are stuck at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border while on a pilgrimage to the Ukrainian city of Uman.

In particular, the office of the Ukrainian president called upon Belarusian authorities not to create additional pressure at the border.

Anatoly Glaz said: “Honestly speaking, let’s not bury the problem in idle talk. It is a problem that needs to be resolved and can be resolved. Thousands of people are forced to spend their nights in the open air. It is absolutely inhumane. That’s what matters now instead of attempts of Ukrainian authorities to shift the blame for their basic unwillingness to find a way out of the situation.”

The official noted that pilgrims from other countries had already arrived in the Ukrainian city of Uman and some VIP quote set by the Ukrainian side had been met. “What are the reasons for discriminating this group [at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border]? Is 200km to Kiev too far to recognize hardships and suffering of the people, who were stopped at the border, including many women and children?” Anatoly Glaz wondered.

“With great emphasis we call upon Ukrainian authorities to respect fundamental human rights, rights of believers, and universally recognized democratic norms and follow principles of humanism. It is necessary to get down to earth and simply start a dialogue with these people. They demand nothing supernatural. They only want their basic rights to be respected. We will keep an eye on the problem,” Anatoly Glaz said. “They are human beings, who landed in Belarus while in transit to Ukraine. Pardon me, but we cannot just leave them to the mercy of fate at the border Ukraine has closed.”

The press secretary noted that Israeli government agencies and Jewish religious bodies had been previously informed via Belarusian embassies and embassies of several other countries in Israel that pilgrims cannot enter Ukraine from the side of Belarus due to the restrictions enforced by the Ukrainian side. “However, pilgrims keep arriving in Belarus. This is why all the resources are being employed to help the believers, including assets of the State Border Committee, the Internal Affairs Ministry, and other organizations involved,” he said.

“If the Ukrainian side cannot open the border, we will stand ready to help the pilgrims leave Belarus. We will do our best to help the people as much as possible,” he added.

(c) Belta

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