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

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

"And when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. And for three days he could not see." (Acts 9:9)

By no means would he [Saul] have been able to see well again unless he had first been fully blinded. Also, when he had rejected his own wisdom, which was confusing him, he could commit himself totally to faith. Since he had not believed that the Lord had conquered death by rising on the third day, he was now taught by his own experience of the replacement of three days of darkness by the return of the light.

Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles from the Venerable Bede