Pticha, Ukraine, February 18, 2019
The parish community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Dormition in the village of Pticha in the Rivne Province, which has been robbed of the use of its parish for the past 5 years, has filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, reports the NGO Public Human Rights Protection.
The complaint was filed with the NGO’s help and is 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 church building was arrested by the authorities specifically to move the issue of its use from a civil and administrative proceeding, where each party can count on an open and objective process and decision, to a criminal proceeding, thereby depriving the faithful of the opportunity to use their church.
Applications for a removal of the arrest on the building have been repeatedly sent to courts of various levels, though the courts refused to satisfy their appeals, except for the decision of April 2, 2018. That same day, the church was attacked and seized by armed men without the police offering any protection. The church was again arrested the next day by the Rivne city court. The church has been under constant attack from schismatics and Right Sector nationalists in recent years.
The state has thus violated several articles of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by allowing unjustified interference in the affairs of a religious organization, effectively depriving it of its property rights and the possibility of effectively protecting its rights.
A statement has also been sent to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
Follow us on Facebook!