Statement by Chair Fiona Bruce MP (UK) on the Situation in Ukraine
As members of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance (IRFBA), we commend the courage, dignity, and determination of the people of Ukraine and their leadership. We stand in solidarity with them, including religious communities throughout the country. We condemn Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine, our fellow IRFBA member.
Ukraine is a strong democracy whose diverse population includes Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, non-believers, and members of other religious groups. With its multiplicity of faith perspectives, Ukraine has been a strong and active defender of the human right to freedom of religion or belief and was one of the earliest countries to commit to membership of the IRFBA and its principles. Its legislation guarantees the equal rights of people of all religions or beliefs.
We denounce President Putin’s cynical attempt to misuse, for his own ends, the history and suffering of people during the Holocaust and World War II, including Ukrainian Jews. His baseless claim that Ukraine is a hotbed for neo-Nazism is just one of the many pretexts fabricated for his war of choice. This is not the first time the Kremlin has falsely accused its neighbors of neo-Nazism and fascism as cover for its own provocations and human rights abuses.
We urge the Kremlin and Russia’s military to cease its illegal invasion and respect the safety of the civilian population of Ukraine, including all religious communities, and to respect the individually held human right to freedom of religion or belief at all times.
We call on all Russians, whatever their religion or belief, to stand up for peace.
The following IRFBA members associate themselves with this statement: Australia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United States.