07.05.2008, [11:21] // Foreign relations // RISU.ORG.UA
Kyiv— Head of the State Committee on Matters of Nationalities and Religions (SCMNR) Aleksandr Sagan met with the US Ambassador to Ukraine William Tailor on 5 May 2008 in Kyiv to discuss religious issues in Ukraine. The representatives addressed questions pertaining to freedom of worship and confession, restitution of religious buildings, activity of migration service bodies, how to best combat xenophobia, racial intolerance and antisemitism, and implementation of an ethnic-national policy. According to the SCMNR press service, Sagan updated Tailor on the committee's support of the idea of establishing a migration service as a central body of the executive power. According to Sagan, this would make the positive experience of European migration service bodies available to help solve urgent problems such as creating new jobs for migrants, particularly in law.
Tailor was particularly attentive to the question of xenophobia, racial intolerance and antisemitism, an issue to which, Sagan agreed, state authorities pay insufficient attention in terms of promoting tolerance among Ukrainian youth. However, Sagan also noted that the SCMNR held the first meeting of the inter-departmental team on matters of combating xenophobia, ethnic and racial intolerance on 17 April 2008. This organizational meeting was attended by representatives Ukraine's Ministries of Justice, Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Education and Science, as well as scholars, experts, representatives of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and other interested institutions and public organizations.
The SCMNR head suggested that it is necessary to hold tolerance seminars in Ukrainian schools, in kindergarten and higher education institutions alike.
Sagan later stressed the work of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, especially with regards to combating the AIDS epidemic in Ukraine and raising social morale through the Church and religious organizations.
In closing, the US Ambassador expressed his high regard for the efforts of the SCMNR in ensuring citizens' constitutional right to religious freedom.