UKRAINE: CANADA’S AMBASSADOR FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, CRACKDOWN SINGLING OUT CATHOLICS

(Sir Europe – Bratislava) – Canada’s ambassador for religious freedom warns that the Ukrainian government is persecuting a particular group of Catholics as the political crisis grows in the European country. According to the Globe and Mail website, Andrew Bennett visited Kyiv last weekend and expressed his concern over the fact that new law placing limits on civil rights will disallow Churches from joining protests against the government in Ukraine’s capital. As he adds, president Viktor Yanukovych’s attempted intimidation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) could be the start of a wider crackdown on Churches in Ukraine as the civil uprising continues. The ambassador said Ukrainian Churches are playing an important role in this Eastern European country during the conflict by encouraging dialogue between opposition leaders and the government and protesters. "The Churches in Ukraine have tremendous respect among the people and their legitimacy has been enhanced through all of this… so to have a law that restricts the role of the Churches and actually violates their religious freedoms and their ability to pursue legitimate pastoral outreach to the people is completely unacceptable", concludes Andrew Bennett.

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