For the first time AUCCRO claims the freedom of expression is oppressed in Ukraine
The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations has drawn attention of the Head of State to the biased and selective approach of the employees of the Presidential Administration to the operation of the Electronic Petition web-service.
In an address to President Petro Poroshenko, the AUCCRO expressed concern, perhaps not the first in the history of Ukraine, to restrict the right of citizens, who defend the moral and family values that are fundamental to any society, to free expression of their views, the Institute of Religious Freedom reports.
The reason for the appeal was the removal on the night of March 28 from the President of Ukraine’s official website of Petition No. 22/042484-ep dated January 26, 2018, which contained a request to take measures to protect traditional family values. This initiative was supported by many Ukrainian citizens, including churches and religious organizations, which consistently uphold the idea that family and marriage in Ukraine as a union between men and women. As of the evening of March 27, the petition was signed by 22,837 Ukrainian citizens out of 25 thousand required for its official consideration.
The decision to remove the petition was taken on the basis of the appeal of the Representative of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner Aksana Filipyshina, who expressed an allegation that the petition contained “incitement to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (belonging to the LGBT community)”.
“According to our belief, such an appraisal of an official is not sufficient grounds for depriving the initiators and signatories of the Petition of the right to freedom of expression. Although some of the petition's proposals are debatable, this should not deprive Ukrainian citizens who are concerned about the future of their children and family policy issues of the state, their right to freely express their views, to publicly disseminate their views and initiate public discussions on homosexuality and same-sex relations,” goes the appeal of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches.
Religious leaders remind the Head of State that the Constitution of Ukraine guarantees everyone the right to freedom of thought and speech, to free expression of their views and beliefs (Article 34). According to their belief, the spread of ideas and proposals in the society for the upholding the idea of family and marriage as a union between men and women should not be restricted by the state in favor of the gender ideology, which denies this, and instead aggressively imposes same-sex relationships as a norm.
The AUCCRO claims about discrimination against those citizens who oppose the legalization of same-sex partnerships as they lose the right to criticize these phenomena while advocates of gender ideology will not be subjected to restrictions on the part of the state. This testifies to the selective, discriminatory attitude of individual officials towards various participants in the public discussion on state family policy, emphasizes in the appeal.
“Ukrainian public, which stands for the moral and psychological health of our society, seeks to educate children in an atmosphere of a healthy family, and thus will not allow harmful social experiments in our country to be carried out in the form of gender ideology. We will continue to strongly resist the encroachment on the Ukrainian family and marriage as a union between men and women, using various public and non-public forms of public expression of will, such as voting at polling stations and petitions, street demonstrations and protests,” summarizes the AUCCRO in its appeal to President of Ukraine.
The Council of Churches expects President Petro Poroshenko to restore the previously published petition No. 22/042484-ep (by Tantsyra) with at least 22,837 signatures gathered, as well as to take measures to prevent presidential administration employees from violating human rights to freedom expression of views while ensuring the functioning of the Electronic Petitions web-service.
At the same time, a similar petition on the website of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has gathered more than 28 thousand signatures of citizens from the required 25 thousand, and has been already submitted for the official consideration of the Government. A similar petition on the website of the Verkhovna Rada has currently obtained 24.2 thousand signatures from Ukrainians.
Recall that on April 4, about a thousand citizens gathered in the government quarter of Kiev to protect their right to freedom of expression and expression of traditional views of the family and marriage as a union between men and women.