Response to Deportation of Head of All-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Christian Baptists from Uzbekistan
The Council of Evangelical Protestant Churches of Ukraine sent an address to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Kostiantyn Hryshchenko, with a request to protect the rights and legitimate interests of Ukrainian citizens during visits to Uzbekistan, the Institute of Religious Freedom reported.
The address was sent in response to the deportation of the head of the All-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Christian Baptists, Viacheslav Nesteruk, by border officers of the airport of Tashkent during his visit to Uzbekistan.
"The incident happened a month ago, on October 30, 2010, but no explanations have been given so far to the Ukrainian public either by representatives of the authorities of Uzbekistan or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine regarding the actions of the border officers of the Republic of Uzbekistan with respect to Bishop Nesteruk," reads the address signed by the Chairman of the Council of Evangelical Protestant Churches of Ukraine, Mykhailo Panochko.
According to the Council of Evangelical Protestant Churches of Ukraine, the absence of a note of protest from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine may allow the deportation of other citizens of Ukraine from the territory of Uzbekistan because of their religious beliefs to continue.
The Institute of Religious Studies learned from the office of the All-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Christian Baptists that Viacheslav Nesteruk has recently approached the ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine regarding the incident and reported the violation of his right as a citizen of Ukraine. The bishop asked the ministry to send an official note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan with a request to give an official explanation of the reasons of his detention in the airport of Tashkent, his arrest and deportation during his visit of Uzbekistan.