Religious leaders prepare action plan to have Kremlin’s prisoners released
Participants of the Round Table on Religious Freedom in Ukraine expect further effective action from the new leadership of Ukraine and the international community to have political prisoners, hostages and POWs illegally deprived of their liberty as a result of Russian aggression released.
This is stated in the recently published Resolution about Citizens of Ukraine who are Illegally Detained on the Territory of the Russian Federation, the Occupied Crimea and Donbass.
The resolution calls on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to appoint a Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs to work on the process of the release of Ukrainian citizens illegally deprived of their liberty on the territory of the Russian Federation, the occupied Ukrainian territories of Crimea and Donbas, and to set up a Coordination Council under the President of Ukraine on the Protection and Release of Hostages, reports the Institute of Religious Freedom.
The participants of the Round table state the need for full de-occupation of the Ukrainian territories of Crimea and Donbas as a pledge to stop gross violations of human rights, and appeal to the authorities of Ukraine and the member states of the UN, the European Union and international organizations, the World Council of Churches and other inter-religious institutions:
“Demand that the Russian Federation cease political persecution and immediately release all Ukrainian citizens imprisoned for political reasons in Russia and the occupied Crimea, prisoners of war and civilian hostages in the occupied Donbas, as well as 24 Ukrainian prisoner of war sailors, and until then demand respect for their rights and freedoms, in particular freedom from torture, the right to an effective remedy, the right to a fair trial, freedom of religion and free admission of clergy and other human rights.”
The Ukrainian public also calls on the EU leadership to appoint a Special Representative of the European Union on the Occupied Ukrainian Territories of Crimea and Donbas to continuously monitor the situation of human rights violations in the occupied Ukrainian territories of Crimea and Donbas.
In addition, as the Resolution notes, the international community should demand from the Russian Federation granting unhindered access to the occupied Ukrainian territories of Crimea and Donbas and the people held in captivity to international intergovernmental organizations, in particular, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the OSCE Mission to Assess the Human Rights Situation in Crimea, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, other Convention and institutional mechanisms of the Council of Europe and the like, as well as for international humanitarian organizations, in particular, the International Committee of the Red Cross.
“Initiate constant monitoring of the trials of victims of political persecution in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, as well as to continue the practice of participation of diplomats of the European Union member states in the court sessions to be held in the territory of the Russian Federation”, the signatories of the Resolution suggest.
This joint document was the result of a thematic session of the Round Table on Religious Freedom in Ukraine which was held in Kyiv with the participation of representatives of more than 50 religious and public organizations.