Metropolitan Feodosiy sets up a human rights group to defend rights of UOC
According to the bishop, his status as a UN human rights defender provides ample opportunities to report violations of the UOC believers’ rights to the world community.
Metropolitan Feodosiy of Cherkasy and Kaniv, who has been granted the status of a UN human rights defender, has initiated the formation of a human rights group to defend the rights of the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC). He revealed this during an interview with Deacon Serhiy Heruk.
"Based on the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, we plan to convene a broad human rights group in the near future to advocate for the rights and freedoms of the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," the Metropolitan stated. "In the first place, we invite hierarchs, clergy, and laity who are willing and capable of defending their Church during times of persecution. It is also not excluded that if there is no change in freedom of conscience in our country in the near future, one of the priority areas of our work will be to prepare materials for a case to prevent the crime of genocide against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (a religious group) based on the relevant Convention adopted by Resolution 260 (III) at the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948."
The Metropolitan expressed hope for "assistance and legal support in this process from international law firms and human rights organizations."
The hierarch explained that the Legal Department of the Cherkasy Diocese has already submitted a detailed factual report on violations of the rights of UOC believers in Cherkasy to the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights.
"The 10-day period during which the Ombudsman's Office could return the document to us for further revisions has already expired, so we are now waiting for the results of the Ombudsman's work in protecting our rights. I hope they will be objective and adequate," the Metropolitan noted.
The Metropolitan stated that his status as a human rights defender of the United Nations, granted to him after his speech during the UN Human Rights Council meeting, provides ample opportunities for conveying truthful information about human rights violations to the international community.
"In our case, it is primarily about the persecution of the UOC. This status is regulated by the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Furthermore, the status of a UN human rights advocate allows for the mobilization of UN resources for protection, as the UN has specific mandates, regulations, and procedures for the protection of individuals who contact the UN on human rights matters. In other words, a UN human rights defender is under special attention, not only of the Human Rights Council but also of the international human rights community. Their voice is heard more quickly, and there will be a more robust response to repressions against them," the Archbishop explained.
As reported by the UOJ, on October 9, 2023, members of the UN Human Rights Council heard a video message from Metropolitan Feodosiy, who is currently under house arrest, in which he spoke about the persecution of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.