Five out of 49 OCU parishes remain in Crimea — UN Monitoring Mission

20.03.2021, 17:22
In the temporarily occupied Crimea, the right to freedom of religion is being violated, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) and followers of Jehovah's Witnesses are being persecuted, and only five of the 49 parishes of the OCU have remained.

This was stated in an interview with the Dom TV channel by the representative of the UN Human Rights monitoring mission in Ukraine Vitaliy Khilko, Ukrinform reports.

"In 2020, the number of parishes decreased from 49 that operated before the occupation to 5 parishes at present, and the number of clergy of this church — from 22 to 4," he said.

According to Khilko, only those religious organizations and churches that have received local registration can operate in the occupied Crimea. The Crimean Diocese of the OCU is denied re-registration on formal grounds. Consequently, the number of parishes and the number of clergy of the OCU has significantly decreased. According to him, the OCU may also lose its largest religious buildings in Crimea.

"We are dealing with the eviction of parishes in Simferopol and the demolition of the church premises in Yevpatoria. "Court decisions have already been made in two such cases," Khilko added.

"In 2020, at least two people served their sentences in the Russian Federation, after their deportation from Crimea. We are now mentioning the residents of Crimea. In general, in 2020, followers of Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted and their homes were searched. During the year, 19 such searches were documented. And in October 2020, at least four people were detained in Crimea on charges of having links with Jehovah's witnesses," Khilko said.