risu.org.ua - Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva Yuri Klymenko urged the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Ahmed Shaheed to find a way to get access to the territory occupied by Russia in the Crimea and to assess the situation there with freedom of religion and belief.

Mr. President,

We welcome conducting this dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence; may I turn to the report of Mr. Ahmed Shaheed.

We fully agree that the individuals, not religions, convictions, belief systems or truth claims, are the right-holders of the right to freedom of religion or belief.

The individuals belonging to minority Christian communities on the territories controlled by the Russian-backed illegal armed groups in eastern Ukraine continuously face restrictions and threats based on their beliefs by those groups.

The members of Crimean Tatars are individuals, whose rights to many freedoms including the freedom of religion are being violated by the Russian occupying authorities of the Crimean peninsula. They are subjected to abuse, discrimination, harassment, intimidation in particular based on their religion.

Having in mind that constant presence of the international monitoring organizations including the UN human rights mechanisms in the peninsula will help to make the occupying authorities respect their obligations under international law, and sharing your view, Mr.  Shaheed, that HRC special procedures are most effective when they operate as a cohesive system, we call on you to seek ways and means to ensure access to Crimea – either individual or collective – in order to estimate the situation.

Thank you.


Teachings of Christ

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin." (Proverbs 10:10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The perfection of the Christian life -- and I mean that life which is the only one the name of Christ is used to designate -- is that in which we participate not only by our mind and soul but in all the actions of our lives, so that our holiness may be complete, in accordance with the blessing pronounced by Paul, in our 'whole body and soul and spirit' (I Thess. 5:23), constantly guarded from all admixture with evil.

St. Gregory of Nyssa, From Glory to Glory