Strasbourg, France, April 3, 2019
On March 14, the European Court of Human Rights sent an official notification to the religious community of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Dormition in the village of Pticha on the acceptance of the applicant’s complaint and the opening of proceedings, reports the NGO Public Human Rights Protection.
The church in the Rivne Province, which has been robbed of the use of its parish for the past 5 years, filed a complaint to the court in February with the NGO’s help based on the Ukrainian state’s failure to protect human rights on its territory. Despite the fact that the parish community has fully-confirmed rights to ownership of the church building and has won all national trials on the matter, the use of the church is, in fact, blocked by the state authorities.
The parish community was deprived of the right to use its own church at the initiative of the investigative bodies within the framework of criminal proceedings.
Unfortunately, the state authorities have no found a way to resolve the conflict situation as is prescribed by law—that is, they have not brought the perpetrators of the repeated seizures of the church to justice. Instead, the law enforcement agencies have actually helped the offenders, blocking the canonical faithful’s access to their church, effectively depriving them of the right to use their own property.
The inability of the UOC community to freely use its own property constitutes a clear violation of the norms of international law contained in the European Convention, the NGO writes.
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