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UN urges Kiev to observe international law while searching churches — official

The UOC is a self-governing church with broad autonomy within the Moscow Patriarchate

UNITED NATIONS, January 18. /TASS/. The United Nations calls upon the Kiev government to fully observe norms of the international law while conducting searches at places of worship, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ilze Brands Kehris has said.

"We urged the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that any such searches in premises [of churches] <…> are in full compliance with international law," she said, while addressing the UN Security Council via a video linkup on Tuesday.

The global organization also urged the Kiev government to make sure that " fair trial rights are given to those facing criminal charges."

The UOC is a self-governing church with broad autonomy within the Moscow Patriarchate. The special status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is reflected in the Charter of the Russian Orthodox Church, which the Council of Bishops adopted in 2000. However, the Council of the UOC on May 27 of last year announced the adoption of amendments to the UOC Charter, declaring its complete independence. At the same time, the Ukrainian authorities recently stepped up a campaign against the UOC. Since November 2022, the Ukrainian security service SBU has been conducting searches in its churches and dioceses throughout the country. Several hierarchs were charged with treason and subversive activities.