On 11-22 September 2017, the Delegation of Ukraine is participating in the OSCE 2017 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting taking place in Warsaw
The statements delivered by the Delegation of Ukraine can be found below:
- at the Opening Session;
- at the Working Session 2 «Fundamental freedoms I, including freedom of peaceful assembly and association, national human rights institutions and the role of civil society in the protection of human rights»;
- at the Working Session 7 «Tolerance and non-discrimination I, including: combating racism, xenophobia, and discrimination; combating anti-Semitism and intolerance and discrimination against Christians, Muslims and members of other religions; prevention and responses to hate crimes in the OSCE area»;
Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine at the Opening Session of the 2017 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Delegation of Ukraine is grateful to the ODIHR and the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship for organizing the 2017 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. Our special thanks go to our Polish friends for their warm hospitality.
We entered a new era in 2014, when international legal norms and principles, including Helsinki principles, pertaining to states’ sovereignty and territorial integrity, were blatantly violated by one OSCE participating State. To our deep regret, this era is not a cold war, but a real hot war on the European continent.
The OSCE has also found itself in the new epoch, following the appointment of the new OSCE leadership and the new heads of OSCE institutions. Perhaps in a clever design all 57 members entered today’s meeting through a tunnel. Let us hope that under the new OSCE institutions leadership, guided by the Swiss Secretary-General our way to the light at end of the tunnel will be shorter that the longest European tunnel of 57 kilometres of Gotthard Base.
I wish to thank the predecessors for their dedicated work. We are grateful to Ambassador Lamberto Zannier for his commitment to promoting OSCE effectiveness as Secretary General in the past few years and welcome to this important position Ambassador Thomas Greminger, who has our full support. Ukraine greatly appreciate the courage and integrity of the Representative on Freedom of the Media Ms. Dunja Mijatović, who set the highest standards of work for her successors. We are also glad that Ms. Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, a person of high integrity and quality, succeeded very able Mr. Michael Link as ODIHR Director. We regret that the participating States were not able to re-appoint Ms. Astrid Thors as High Commissioner on National Minorities in 2016 and this important institution was left without management for nearly one year due to an unconstructive position of one OSCE delegation. Today we are confident that profound experience and high professionalism of Ambassador Zannier as OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities will contribute to strengthening this important OSCE conflict prevention tool in the next three years.
At present the OSCE and the whole European security order are under the biggest attack from one country. Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol remain occupied by Russia. Russian military and illegal armed groups, which Russia backs and arms, continue to operate in Donbas, killing Ukrainian servicemen and peaceful civilians.
Over three years of illegal occupation of Crimea have been marked by blatant violations of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Crimean population. It must remain our priority to seek, by all available instruments, the permanent monitoring and presence in Crimea of established human rights monitoring mechanisms of the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe and other international organizations. This must be done in compliance with the UN GA Resolutions 68/262 “Territorial Integrity of Ukraine” and 71/205 “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)”.
We call on the OSCE institutions to use all possibilities to secure the immediate release of the illegally detained Ukrainian citizens – political prisoners in Russia, including Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Stanislav Klykh, Mykola Karpyuk and Roman Sushchenko, as well as Akhtem Chygoz, Mykola Semena in the occupied Crimea. The most recent case of a 19-year-old Ukrainian Pavlo Gryb, who was kidnapped on the territory of the Republic Belarus and transferred to the detention facility in the Russian Federation, has become yet another appalling example of Russia’s state policy of abduction and hostage-taking, which should not have a place in the OSCE area. Today, the Russian occupation authorities sentenced a Ukrainian citizen, a Crimean Tatar Mr. Akhtem Chygoz to 8 years in a strict regime colony. It is surely a cynical, well-timed grin addressed to all of those who gathered today to discuss human rights in the OSCE area.
We have to admit that the OSCE and the then existing European security architecture were unable to prevent and stop military aggression, occupation and annexation of a part of territory of one participating State by another participating State.
Having said that, OSCE nevertheless remains an extremely useful organization. We highly value the role of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine under the skilful guidance of Ambassador Apakan, which remains the only real monitor in the territory of the occupied Donbas, observing and documenting the abhorrent human rights violations taking place there. We regret that the OSCE has never been consulted on the Russian proposal calling for an establishment of a “UN Mission on Support in Protecting the SMM OSCE”, which clearly shows Russia’s open disrespect towards the OSCE.
In contrast, my country highly appreciates the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine commitment to assist the Government of Ukraine in advancing its reform agenda, transparently and accountably, through the implementation of numerous projects, which cover the whole array of topics under the review during the HDIM thematic sessions, as well as supporting cooperative efforts between the government and the civil society.
I would like to remind you that the UN General Assembly in its resolution of December 2016 “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)” established the facts, and based on these facts it told the unequivocal truth: Russia is an occupying power. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly was also very articulate about Russia’s aggressive actions, acknowledging the truth: Russia violated all Helsinki principles.
I hope that the discussion that we will have in the next two weeks will not be a post- truth discussion, framed by appeals to emotion and personal belief disconnected from objective facts. I call upon you to have a genuine debate, where the truth, based on the facts, prevails.
Ultimately, this is about our common values of human dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms, which remain at the core of the OSCE concept of comprehensive security.
Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine at the Working Session 1 “Freedom of expression, free media and information, including best practices for safety of journalists” of 2017 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
On the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and in the certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where Ukrainian authorities do not temporarily exercise their powers, Russia's occupational "authority" is establishing prohibition on freedom of thought, speech and expression, carrying out measures aimed at coercing journalists and impeding their professional activities as well as other fundamental human rights and freedoms.
In Crimea and Donbas, Ukrainian TV channels are switched off and the illegal broadcasting of local television and radio companies and license-holders of Roskomnadzor (which stands for the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media) is ensured; access is blocked to 60 Ukrainian websites in Crimea and to 113 in Donbas.
From 2014 to 2017, the Institute of Mass Information has documented more than 200 cases of the violation of freedom of speech or pressure on the media in Crimea and nearly 150 similar cases in Donbas.
The categories of violations include the establishment of censorship, attacks on media offices, killings, detentions, interrogations, imprisonment of journalists and public activists, searches in their homes, restriction on access to meetings of self-proclaimed authorities, in particular courts, the introduction of pro-Ukrainian journalists to so-called lists of “terrorists” of the Russian Federation, the blocking of Ukrainian TV channels and websites.
Among cases of the violation of freedom of speech in Crimea, the following took place during June-August 2017:
1. In June 2017, the providers in occupied Crimea blocked Ukrainian Internet traffic.
2. In June 2017, a bill was submitted to the Russian State Duma on the prohibition of the use of technologies which allow evading the blocking of websites. Its provisions were illegally imposed in the illegally occupied territory of Crimea.
3. In July 2017, Crimean Tatar Emil Minasov was sentenced to a year and three months of imprisonment for allegedly disseminating extremist materials in the social media.
4. On 4 August 2017, a female resident of the Bakhchysarai district was fined 300,000 roubles by a "court" in occupied Crimea for pro-Ukrainian posts in the social media.
One of the the recent vivid examples of censorship in occupied Crimea is the case of Server Karametov. This a 76-year-old activist on August 8, 2017 was apprehended for picketing alone in support of political prisoners with the poster “Putin, Aksyonov, our children, Akhtem Chyihoz, are not terrorists, stop accusing Crimean Tatars.” According to the court’s ruling, he was arrested for 10 days and fined 10,000 roubles.
On August 14, 2017, seven senior Crimean Tatars (Osman Ablaiev, Emir Suiunov, Sinaver Nimetulaiev, Davlatova Iarikul, Ridvan Aga, Shevkii Aga and a grandfather) carried out one-person pickets across Simferopol in support of Server Karametov and against the occupants’ repressions of Crimean Tatars, and were apprehended for interrogation thereafter.
In the certain areas of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions controlled by illegal armed groups of the so-called "LPR" and "DPR" supported by the Russian Federation, there are no independent mass media. Media offices have been either seized or ransacked. Journalists are subject to attacks, captivity, and torture.
In 2017, the Institute of Mass Information has documented 5 cases of the violation of freedom of speech: 2 cases in February, 1 in April, 1 in June, and 1 in July.
According to human rights organizations and the mass media, the following cases are the recent ones:
1. Feb. 2, 2017, British photographer Christopher Nunn was injured as a result of a shelling of the city Avdiivka, Donetsk region, by Russian occupying forces. He got eye and face injuries. Doctors of the Mechvikov Regional Clinical Hospital of the city Dnipro managed to preserve his eyesight.
2. Feb. 4, 2017, Anastasiia Mahazova, a freelance journalist, was threatened by an identified man in Facebook after covering events in Avdiivka, Donetsk region.
3. Apr. 27, 2017, the so-called "ministry of interior of the LPR" declared as wanted military correspondents of the Podrobytsi (Particulars) programme of TV channel Inter, including Hennadii Vivdenko, Ruslan Smeshchuk, cameraman Serhiy Dubinin and Inter's former military correspondent Roman Bochkala. Pro-Russian mercenaries accused the journalists of "supporting terrorist activities" on the territories controlled by them.
4. In early June, journalist, blogger and author of Radio Donbas.Realii (Donbas.Realities) Stanislav Asieiev (Vasin) was kidnapped in Donetsk, his flat broken into and ransacked. Stanislav Vasin contributed to the Radio Svoboda (Radio Liberty) project Donbas. Realii as well as to Ukrainski Tyzhni (Ukrainian Weeks), Ukrainska Pravda (The Ukrainian Truth), ZN.ua.
The restoration of Ukrainian TV and radio broadcasting on the abovementioned territories is instrumental for providing information security.
The development of broadcasting is carried out by the Commission on Ensuring the Stable Functioning of the National Television and Radio Broadcasting System under the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine.
During the Commission's work in 2015-2017:
1. TV and radio communications towers were constructed in order to provide Ukrainian broadcasting to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk region.
2. More than 60 transmitters and a TV tower have been received from foreign partners;
3. Ukrainian broadcasting coverage in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions has been increased by 27 percent;
4. The audience of FM-radio broadcasting has increased by 40 percent (up to 700,000 people). Analogue TV broadcasting has increased by 30 percent, and digital broadcasting by 9 percent;
5. 57 FM-radio frequencies have been allocated to the ATO area, which is approximately 30 percent of all the frequencies provided for the use in Ukraine. That is, a third of the radio frequencies resource has been given to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and the Public Broadcasting has received 24 frequencies in the ATO area.
In case of “hybrid warfare”, including armed Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the protection of Internet space is an essential component of information security. The following actions have been taken by Ukraine in this regard:
1. On 25 February 2017, Decree No. 47/2017 by the President of Ukraine approved the Decision of the Council of National Security and Defence of Ukraine dated 29 December 2016 "On the Doctrine of Information Security of Ukraine".
2. On 15 May 2017, Decree No. 133/2017 by the President of Ukraine imposed sanctions on 468 legal entities and 1228 natural persons of the Russian Federation, including Yandex, Mail.Ru Group, Odnoklassniki, Vkontakte, etc.
3. On 19 June 2017, the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine forwarded a list of 20 websites recommended for blocking to the Security Service of Ukraine, since they "contain information which instigates international enmity or violates the territorial integrity of Ukraine".
4. In June 2017, cyberspace was struck by a rapid proliferation of the encrypting virus “Petya”. Many experts believe that this was a planned cyber-attack on Ukraine with explicit political motives.
Responding to today’s claims by the Russian delegation concerning the limitations imposed by the Ukrainian authorities on certain Russian journalists, we wish to point out that it is both the duty and right of every state to defend itself from an external aggression. The international standards in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms provide for a possibility of limitations in the interests of protection of national security and public order. Such provisions are enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 19) and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Article 10).
I thank you, Mr. Moderator.
Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine at the Working Session 3 “Democratic institutions, including: democracy at the national, regional and local levels, democratic elections” of 2017 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
Ukraine aligns itself with the statement of the European Union and I would like to add some lines in my national capacity.
Next March there will be presidential elections in the Russian Federation.
I am sure that the Russian government according to its international commitments will invite international observers.
So, ODIHR and some other organizations will conduct observation.
I suspect that the Russian Federation will organize some activities that will look like “elections” on the territory of temporary occupied Crimea.
We recall the need to strictly adhere to the UNGA Resolution 68/262 “Territorial integrity of Ukraine” adopted on 27 March 2014 calling upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on the basis of the so-called “referendum” of 16 March 2014 and to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status.
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly two months ago adopted Minsk declaration, where it is clearly stated:
«OSCE PA calls on the Russian Federation to restrain its aggressive practices and reverse its annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea».
Last general elections Russian authorities also opened polling stations in Crimea. OSCE/ODIHR did not observe the illegal process in the Crimean peninsula, acting with full respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the OSCE participating States.
On behalf of Ukrainian delegation I ask the ODIHR and other election observation missions and organizations to refrain from any observation activity in illegally occupied Crimea.
We also ask to identify very clearly in all observation reports concerning Russia, that observation in Crimea was not conducted according to the international commitments and UN GA Resolutions 68/262 “Territorial integrity of Ukraine” and 71/205 "Situation of human rights in Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)”
I also would like to inform all the participants that the politicians elected during so-called “elections” in Crimea are not allowed to participate in any international events and I hope this practice will be continued until the reversal of Russia’s occupation of the Crimean peninsula.
I thank you, Mr. Moderator.
Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine at the Working Session 4 “Ensuring equal enjoyment of rights and equal participation in political and public life” of 2017 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
Ukraine aligns itself with the statement of the European Union and in my national capacity I would like to attract attention of the HDIM participants over the negative developments with regard to rights and freedoms of persons, belonging to Ukrainian minority in the Russian Federation, which is one of the largest ethnic communities in this country.
According to the last census in 2010 there are about 2 mln of Ukrainians (4,3 mln in 1989) in the Russian Federation. The current estimations of the Russian authorities attest about 5 mln of Ukrainians who are living in Russia.
Targeted anti-Ukrainian policy in Russia is longstanding and it has growing scale. The ongoing pressure and incitement of hatred through state-owned media pose a serious threat to preserving and developing the national identity, cultural and linguistic needs of the Ukrainian community in Russia.
The most known and well-recognized Ukrainian global organizations – the Ukrainian World Congress and the Ukrainian World Coordinating Council – appeared at the “patriotic stop-list” of the “undesirable” organizations in Russia.
Ukrainians cannot realize their rights for national organizations according to the Russian legislation in power:
- the Federal National Cultural Autonomy of Ukrainians in Russia was dissolved in November 2011;
- the Association of Ukrainians of Russia was dissolved in May 2012;
- established by Ukrainian activists NGO "Ukrainian Congress of Russia" was twice refused to be registered by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation however the new Federal National Cultural Autonomy of Ukrainians in Russia with no full representation of the regional entities was registered in 2012.
Ukrainians cannot realize their cultural, educational and information rights fully:
- millions of Russian Ukrainians has no any federal or regional mass media in Russia, they don’t have any representation in the political life of the Russian Federation;
- children of Ukrainian origin have no opportunity to study in Ukrainian as their parents even don’t know about such an opportunity for them and there is lack of prepared teachers and schools in Russia although Article 68 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation states that “the Russian Federation shall guarantee to all of its people the right to preserve their native language and the creation of the conditions for its study and development”;
- the only state-owned institution of Ukrainian culture "Library of Ukrainian Literature" in Moscow is closed.
Many Ukrainian local organizations in Russia and it activists are under pressure of the authorities.
- co-chairman of the regional NGO "Ukrainians of Moscow", the Moscow-resident Ukrainian citizen V.Girzhov was banned to entry to Russia;
- Russian police searched an apartment of the co-chairman of the Association of Ukrainians in Russia, representative of the Ukrainian World Congress Mr. Valery Semenenko in Moscow unfoundedly accusing him of disseminating “anti-Russian” materials. As a result, Mr Semenenko fled from the country.
- the leader of the Khabarovsk regional Ukrainian organization “Krynytsya” Natalia Romanenko for her pro-Ukrainian position is under the pressure of the local Prosecutor’s Office and Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. The representatives of the law-enforcement agencies also questioned the members of this cultural NGO trying to prove its extremist activities.
We condemn the deliberate anti-Ukrainian practices and discrimination by the Russian authorities against Ukrainian NGOs and activists. These actions pose a serious threat to preserving and developing the national identity, cultural and linguistic needs of the Ukrainian community in Russia.
We demand from the Russian authorities to immediately halt persecution of the Ukrainians and their institutions, including state-owned, which promote Ukrainian culture in the territory of the Russian Federation. Such steps would signal willingness to comply with international obligations on human rights and the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, including their cultural, educational and linguistic rights.
We encourage the OSCE and its institutions to give immediate attention to these worrying trends and assist the Russian Federation to fully comply with relevant OSCE commitments on national minorities.
Thank you, Mr. Moderator.
Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine at the Working Session 5 “Ensuring equal enjoyment of rights and equal participation in political and public life” of 2017 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
Ukraine aligns itself with the statement of the European Union and addressing today the issue of equal participation of under-represented groups in my national capacity I would like to attract attention of the HDIM participants to the rights of the national minorities of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in the occupied Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
From day one of the illegal occupation Russia has been transforming the Crimean peninsula into the human rights “exclusion zone” marked by injustice, terror and repression, by attempts to erase the national identity of the Ukrainians and of the indigenous people of the peninsula — the Crimean Tatars, by cruel silencing of any dissenting voices.
While flagrantly breaching all ten principles of the Helsinki Final Act, the Russian Federation has systematically violated the OSCE commitments on promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, strengthening instead the oppression of the population under its occupation.
The violations have been registered and documented by the United Nations and the OSCE ODIHR/HCNM missions, civil society organizations and human rights defenders.
In the course of today’s discussion we would like to draw the attention to some of them.
To be Crimean Tatar or Ukrainian dissent over Russia’s illegal actions is a crime in Crimea. Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis Akhtem Chiygoz after being behind bars for two years has been recently convicted by the occupation court to 8 years of imprisonment. Another Deputy Chairman of Mejlis Ilmi Umerov is criminally persecuted. The leader of the Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev and Chairman of the Mejlis Refat Chubarov have been banned entry to their native land.
Just today in the morning after the search in his house in Nizhnehirsk was reportedly taken somewhere by people in masks another Crimean Tatar activist Renat Paralamov and his whereabouts are unknown for his family and lawyer.
The Mejlis – a traditional representative body of the Crimean Tatar people – was labeled by the Russian occupation authorities “an extremist organization” and banned.
Russia has not implemented the provisional measures concerning “refrain from maintaining or imposing limitations on the abiloity of the Crimean Tatar community to converse its representative institutions, including the Mejlis” adopted by the International Court of Justice’s Order in the case concerning Application of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Ukraine v. Russian Federation).
The people in Crimea are denied the right to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of religion. The occupation authorities banned the traditional ceremonies in connection with anniversaries of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people, peaceful assembly on the Crimean Tatar Flag Day, annual rally on the International Day of Human Rights and other events. A demonstration of the Ukrainian flag or laying flowers to the Ukrainian monuments can easily become the reason for a criminal or administrative charge. That was the case for Kurseit Abdullayev, Leonid Kuzmin and Olexander Kravchenko who were detained and found guilty for displaying the Ukrainian flag and inscriptions “Crimea is Ukraine” which the so-called “court” considered to be symbols of extremist organizations. Or the recent case of Crimean farmer Volodymyr Balukh who was thrown in jail last December on fabricated charges just for hoisting the Ukrainian flag at his private house. V.Balukh joined a long list of Ukrainian citizens who are political prisoners in Russia and in the Russia-occupied territory of Ukraine.
Against the backdrop of glaring and systematic human rights violations in the illegally occupied Crimean peninsula, on 19 December 2016 the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution 71/205 "Situation of human rights in Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)”. In particular, the General Assembly, condemning Russia’s occupation of a part of Ukraine’s territory and not recognizing the attempted annexation, called on the Russian Federation "to take all measures necessary to bring an immediate end to all abuses against residents of Crimea, in particular reported discriminatory measures and practices, arbitrary detentions, torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, and to revoke all discriminatory legislation." It also urged Russia to "immediately release Ukrainian citizens who were unlawfully detained and judged without regard for elementary standards of justice, as well as those transferred across internationally recognized borders from Crimea to the Russian Federation". The Resolution refers to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, which, inter alia, provide for the humane treatment of the population, living in the occupied territory, and protect its rights under international humanitarian law.
In the absence of such access, we call on the OSCE Chairmanship and the OSCE Institutions – HCNM, ODIHR and RFoM - to use all assets at their disposal for distant monitoring, documentation and reaction to human rights situation in the illegally occupied Crimea.
We urge Russia, as an occupying power, to take responsibility for stopping all human rights violations on the peninsula and to facilitate free and unconditional access of the international monitors to Crimea.
We urge Russia to reverse the illegal occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol which are an integral part of the sovereign territory of Ukraine.
I thank you.
Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine at the Working Session 6 “Fundamental freedoms II, including: Freedom of thought, conscience, religion, or belief” of 2017 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
Ukraine aligns itself with the statement of the European Union and I would like to add some lines in my national capacity.
Ukraine is a state with one of the most numerous number of religious organizations, that act in a country, continues its politics oriented on support and even development of the existing level of religious diversity and plurality.
According to the last statistics of the Department for Religious Affairs and Nationalities there are 97 independent religious bodies registered in the country. But it’s not a full number of the religious units functioning in the country because, according to the all-European practice, the Ukrainian legislation allows any religious bodies to act without the state registration. More than 1000 communities without the state registration are functioning now in the country.
But just three years ago this number had been much higher – around 1800. 750 communities from this number, mostly as a part of the Spiritual Center of Muslims of Ukraine, had been functioning on the territory of Crimean Peninsula. Now after the Russian temporary occupation of Crimea the whole system of the unregistered communities had been prohibit.
We would like to attract you attention to the terrible fact of the Crimean occupation authorities prosecution of religious organizations in Crimea. I mean repressions concerning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate. During several previous years, several church buildings have been taking out from the local dioceses according with the obvious using of the police forces. The last impressive fact happened at the end of August, just several weeks ago, when the occupational executive service and police officers banned to use some part of the building that belong the Crimean diocese of the Kyivan Patriarchate. The local bishop was injured during this action.
Speaking about so-called “forced seized of church buildings” in Ukraine we would like to stress that experiencing the politics of supporting the existing religious plurality, at the same time the state is trying to secure the equal rights for all communities.
Equal treatment means sometimes loosing by some religious organizations those privileges that had experienced in different periods in the past, when, for example, the Orthodox Church with the canonical connection with the Moscow patriarchate, had in fact much higher level of the state support than any other religious groups.
Equality means also that any religious communities, according to existing national law and recommendations of different international organizations, including the special recommendations of OSCE, can freely choose to which jurisdiction to belong. It means that dozens and even hundreds of communities are changing now their canonical subordination according to the will of the majority of community members.
So any accusations in violation of religious rights made by the representative of the Russian Federation in the context of free change of the religious affiliation by the religious communities in Ukraine look like a conscious speculations and attempts to limit in fact the obvious rights of any person or religious organization for free choice and change of religious affiliation.
Also we want to support a position and the great concern of many delegations about complete prohibition of the Organization of Jehovah Witnesses in Russian Federation. The fact of ban of the religious institution with the total number of followers in around 170 thousand is one of the most obvious and impressive fact of violation of the freedom of religion in the whole area of responsibility of the OSCE in last several decades.
Besides prohibition of Jehovah’s Witnesses, according to so called anti-extremist legislation and additions to the State law of religious freedom from so called the Yarovaja pakage, other religious communities are continuing to feel for themselves different kinds of repressions, including several alternative Orthodox jurisdictions, many Protestant groups, the great variety of Muslim organizations, and surely the new religious movements.
So conscious tress that Russian Federation always does on the necessity to guarantee the right of religious majorities it’s an obvious way to disguise, to mask the real intention - the state politics of repressions against whose religious organizations that are out of the state control.
I thank you, Mr. Moderator.
Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine at the Working Session 7 “Tolerance and non-discrimination I, including: combating racism, xenophobia, and discrimination; combating anti-Semitism and intolerance and discrimination against Christians, Muslims and members of other religions; prevention and responses to hate crimes in the OSCE area” of 2017 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
The delegation of Ukraine is aligning itself with the statement of the European Union. Also I would like to add some points in my nation capacity.
The OSCE commitments on freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief were first enshrined in the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and further elaborated in many subsequent OSCE documents, including the 2010 Astana Commemorative Declaration, in which participating States recognized that “greater efforts must be made to promote freedom of religion or belief and to combat intolerance and discrimination”. They constitute a comprehensive framework for participating States to ensure the respect for and promotion of the right to freedom of religion or belief.
Ukraine is fully committed to protecting and fostering the fundamental freedom of religion or belief, guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine, in compliance with the OSCE commitments and applicable international standards.
Ukraine is a multinational country, with over 130 nationalities of different religious backgrounds. The Government of Ukraine attaches great importance to the promotion of tolerance, mutual respect and understanding within the Ukrainian society. The overwhelming majority of religious communities in Ukraine describe harmonious inter-faith relations and conditions of non-discrimination allowing everyone to profess and practice, alone or in community with others, the religion or belief of his or her choice, as well as the right not to profess any religion.
The Government of Ukraine pays special attention to the cooperation with all the religious organizations of Ukraine and inter-confessional dialogue.
The representatives of the Ukrainian churches and religious organizations are participating in the activities of the Commission on religious organizations’ rights implementation under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, civil councils of the Ministry of Education and Science Ukraine, Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, Ministry of Health Care of Ukraine and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, established in 1996, representing more than 90% of my country’s religious denominations, has become the basic platform for inter-confessional dialogue. The President of Ukraine convenes meetings with the Council’s Board members on the regular basis.
To assist in resolution of the problematic issues between the confessions, the Working group of current inter-church conflicts was established in 2014 under the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine. There is also Experts council on freedom of conscience and religious organizations’ activities under the same ministry.
Discussing a very important subject of non-discrimination, we would like to draw your attention again to obvious and impressive fact of discrimination and violation of the freedom of religion in the entire OSCE region that happened for the first time in such scale for last several decades. I mean a fact of complete prohibition of the “Organization of Jehovah Witnesses” in Russian Federation that caused already a great concern of many delegations present here. The fact of ban of the religious institution with the total number of followers in around 170 thousand can’t have any explanations and justification.
Besides prohibition of Jehovah’s Witnesses, according to the so-called anti-extremist legislation and additions to the Russian law on religion from so-called “Yarovaja package”, adopted in 2016, other religious communities are continuing to feel for themselves different kinds of repressions.
Several alternative Orthodox jurisdictions, many Protestant groups, the great variety of Muslim organizations, and surely the new religious movements are under the state repressions and experience different forms of limitations of their activity.
So, the conscious accent that was expressed today by the Russian Federation concerning the necessity to guarantee the non-discriminative approach and rights of religious majorities, it’s just an obvious way to disguise, to mask the real intention - to continue and to justify state politics of repressions against whose religious organizations that are out of the state control for far and actively trying to implement the principles of religious freedom in the Russian society as a basis for preparation the basis for spreading this experience to the political sphere as well.
I also would like to present a few facts concerning the statement of the representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.
It’s correct that till now this Church is still the biggest religious organization according to the number of registered religious communities. But at the same time according to personal self-identification it has in two times less adherents than the Kyivan Patriarchate.
This fact explains why a great majority of former believers of the Moscow Patriarchate now are trying to change their personal affiliation and affiliation of hundreds of their communities. It’s a free choice of people that is realizing without any pressure.
Accusation of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine in undesirability to register the regulative documents of the Church doesn’t correlate with reality.
During last two years two monasteries and three synodic departments (totally five units) of this church have been registered because in these cases the documents met requirements of the national law on religion. In eleven other cases the registration process had no chances to be completed because the documents have been consciously based on the principles that oppose to the main concept of the Ukrainian legislation which presuppose that any religious community has an own juridical status.
The offered documents implement alternative concept when the church administrative center has right of complete control over the community life including a right to dispose of real estate.
We remain deeply alarmed over the repressions in the Crimea by the occupying authorities, which take the form of attacks on and the expulsion of the priests of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, as well as raids against Crimean Tatars’ mosques and madrasas. Priests and mullas are forced to cooperate with the Russian Federal Security Service and to provide information about their parishioners. Those who refuse are threatened with prosecution on false charges of extremism. The mass-media controlled by the occupying authorities regularly spread the propaganda accusing followers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate of fascism and hatred. Many Ukrainian priests were forced to leave Crimea.
There have been increasing reports of violations of freedom of religion or belief in certain areas of Donbas, temporarily controlled by the Russia-backed militants. All faith traditions appear to be targeted by the militants through the persecution, abductions, unlawful deprivation of liberty, torture and ill-treatment and even killings of clergy members and believers, as well as the seizure of church property. The most endangered are the believers and priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jehovah Witnesses, and Ukrainian Christian Evangelic Church.
We strongly condemn these manifestations of religious-biased violence and discrimination, that should become a matter of serious concern for the international organizations and human rights NGOs, and we urge the Russian Federation to abide by the norms of international law and OSCE principles and commitments.
In this context we underline the need to pay special attention to the cases of discrimination on the basis of religion or belief, including against Christians, Jews, Muslims and members of other religions in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, city of Sevastopol and certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (Ukraine), which requires:
- to put an end to all forms of intimidation and harassment of religious communities;
- to properly investigate all incidents, thus enabling the protection of the freedom of religion or belief;
- to fully respect and protect freedom of religion or belief, including the right of religious communities to freely function without undue administrative or legislative hindrance, harassment or other restrictions.
All those violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms constitute a serious threat to national security and peace in Ukraine and Europe and demand an adequate international response. We encourage the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine and the OSCE Institutions to be more persistent in their efforts to ensure close monitoring of and reporting on the human rights situation in the occupied Crimea and certain areas of Donbas, namely the cases of religious intolerance, to help restore the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the affected regions and situations of occupation.
I thank you, Mr. Moderator.
Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine at the Working Session 8 “Tolerance and non-discrimination” of 2017 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
Ukraine aligns itself with the statement of the European Union and I would like to add some lines in my national capacity.
Ukraine firmly condemns all manifestations of intolerance, incitement of hatred, harassment or violence against persons or communities, wherever they occur and regardless of which groups they target.
The OSCE commitments present a comprehensive framework for participating States to address manifestations of intolerance and discrimination since they pose a threat to the security of the region.
As early as 1990, in the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting, the participating States had declared that they would “take effective measures to promote understanding and tolerance”. OSCE Ministerial Council Decisions adopted at Porto (2002), Maastricht (2003), Sofia (2004), Ljubljana (2005), Brussels (2006), Madrid (2007) and Athens (2009) have strengthened this commitment.
During Ukraine’s OSCE Chairmanship in 2013 my country invested significant efforts to promote the implementation of the relevant OSCE human dimension commitments, including on combating discrimination and intolerance against Christians, Jews, Muslims and members of other religions.
We recognize the important role of the OSCE Institutions - Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, High Commissioner on National Minorities, and Representative on Freedom of the Media - in assisting participating States in the implementation of their commitments on combating intolerance and discrimination and promoting mutual respect and understanding.
The Ukrainian authorities are vocal, at both national and international levels, in their condemnation of anti-Semitism, racism, neo-Nazism, fascism, xenophobia, aggressive nationalism, chauvinism and any kind of discrimination. As a country with representatives of more than 130 nationalities and different religious backgrounds living in its territory, Ukraine attaches great importance to the promotion of tolerance, mutual respect and understanding within the Ukrainian society.
The topic of preventing and combating discrimination is duly addressed by the National Human Rights Strategy of Ukraine, which provides for efficient system at national and local levels, including legal protection, awareness raising programmes and statistical data collection.
The Government of Ukraine continues to closely cooperate with international organizations to further strengthen the implementation of relevant OSCE commitments. The Ukrainian authorities carefully examine the assessments and recommendations of international organizations with due respect to their expertise, objectivity and impartiality.
Any changes of the jurisdictional affiliation of the Orthodox communities, the issue that was raised many times during this working session, are occurring according to the article 8 of the respective national law and OSCE recommendations on the basis of the decision of the majority of community members. So, in fact the openly expressed by the different representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate (either from Russia or Ukraine) rejection of the possibility for free choice for religious affiliation and believes in general is an obvious expression of the totalitarian way of thinking and denial of the liberal principles. This approach is especially dangerous because it intends to mask the real intensions of returning in the repressive past addressing and using, at the same time, mechanisms that offered by the international democratic institutions, including the OSCE.
Democracy and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms are essential safeguards of tolerance and non-discrimination. They constitute important factors for stability, security, co-operation and peaceful development throughout the entire OSCE region.
Our Meeting takes place at a challenging time, when Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea and on-going aggression in Donbas amply demonstrate that violation of international law by one participating State inflicts serious damage to democratic stability, human rights and peace in the entire Europe. Just as before in the past, the most glaring violation of human dignity, cases of persecution and discrimination take place in the situations of occupation.
Grave human rights violations, committed by the occupying power on part of Ukraine’s territory affect people of all religious denominations, including Christians and Muslims, and of different ethnic background. We reiterate that the ban of a highest representative body of the Crimean Tatar people constitutes a grave violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including those enshrined in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Topic of non-discrimination and combating the hate crime is closely related to the topic of full respect to the human rights. In this context, Ukrainian delegation would like one more time to remind about very dramatic and demonstrative fact that shows that a lack of respect to the human rights could have, as the logical consequence of such approach, experiencing of unacceptable forms of the state violence that stand in the same line with the obvious, almost terroristic activity.
I mean the enforced disappearance of 19-years-old Ukrainian Pavlo Hryb who was kidnaped by the representatives of the Russian secret services from the territory of Belarus.
Kidnaping happened on August 24, in a day of the biggest Ukrainian holiday – Independence Day. It shows one more time that this event had obvious political background.
Just in more than two weeks after the disappearance of the young man in Belarus the Russian officials confirmed that he was sentenced to prison in Krasnodar, in several thousand kilometers from the place of kidnaping.
It is important to emphasize on the fact that the father of the kidnaped person is one of the leading person in the chaplaincy department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate and is working on creating the spiritual support of the Ukrainian army that opposed the Russian military agression at the Donbas region of my country. So, it is an attempt to take revenge, on the personal, family level, to those representatives of the Ukrainian society who oppose most actively to the military aggression of the Russian Federation.
We also would like to remind about imprisonment for more than one and a half year of the very famous Ukrainian religious studies scientist Ihor Kozlovsky, who was illegally arrested in Donetsk that is the temporary controlled by the Russian hybrid forces. The only accusation to the address of this person, that was presented by the so-called “authorities” of completely controlled by Russia so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic”, was his participation in organization of the inter-religious meeting, prayers and cooperation with the different religious unities.
We call on Russia and its proxies for these people and all other Ukrainian detainees and political prisoners to be released.
We encourage the OSCE and its Institutions to be more persistent in their efforts to ensure monitoring of human rights situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.
While addressing the current security challenges, a hallmark of our endeavors in the OSCE must remain upholding the principles and commitments we have all made as participating States on promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
I thank you, Mr. Moderator.
Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine at the Working Session 9 “Tolerance and non-discrimination” of 2017 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
The Ukrainian delegation has repeatedly drawn attention within the OSCE to the threats posed by the surge of radicalism, aggressive nationalism and neo-Nazism in the Russian Federation. The growing aggressive nationalistic sentiment within Russia, paired with xenophobic public statements by mainstream politicians, presents a challenge to Russia in terms of implementation of its OSCE commitments and a serious risk to long-term stability within the OSCE area.
Many people belonging to Muslim community in Russia seriously suffer from suspicion of extremism and connections with terrorist groups. This affects persons of the North Caucasus descent and millions of migrant workers from the Central Asia. Systematic repressions against religious organizations are paired with ethnic profiling by the police and result in multiple discrimination. The situation of non-citizens is also critical as they are seen as “foreigners” on the basis of religion, country of origin etc. Propaganda at the Russian state television stations has persisted in creating an “image of enemy” of the Ukrainian people. The manifestations of anti-Semitism include regular attacks on synagogues and sites of religious significance to Judaism in Arkhangelsk, Perm, and Bryansk, as well as destruction of memorial and Jewish cemeteries in Kaliningrad, Petrozavodsk and other cities. There is also an increase in ethnic discrimination by the Russian authorities, including the practice of segregating Roma children in schools.
All these and many other facts are documented in the Alternative Report on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by the Russian Federation, prepared by several independent NGOs for the 93rd Session of the UN CERD.
The legislation is used to stifle dissenting views and voices. The so-called “anti-extremist” legislation, which the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission and other organizations recognized as non-conform to international human rights standards, remains a major source of threats to religious and other freedoms in Russia. The space for NGOs advocating human rights is rapidly shrinking, thus leaving the picture about real situation in Russia ever more obscure.
As we clearly see Russia faces important problems in terms of non-implementation of its international obligations and the OSCE commitments. Discrimination against ethnicities, hate speech, hate crimes, and anti-extremism laws that undermine human rights and fundamental freedoms are among those most acute problems.
We urge Russia to fully co-operate with the OSCE Institutions and use their expertise to assist Russia in implementing the relevant OSCE commitments, addressing the root causes of the rise of violent radicalism, neo-Nazism and xenophobia in the Russian Federation. We remind the Russian delegation that the OSCE principles and commitments apply equally to all participating States, including Russia.
I thank you, Mr. Moderator.