On December 25, 2023, Mira Terada, head of the Foundation to Battle Injustice, took part in a roundtable discussion on “Violations of the rights of believers in the world: the results of the year”, which was held at the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation. The participants of the event discussed the current situation around violations of the rights of believers in the modern world and the identification of the most relevant directions and mechanisms for resolving existing problems.
The event was organized by the Commission of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation on Interethnic, Interreligious Relations and Migration, the Synodal Department for Relations between the Church and Society and the Media, and the Russian Association for the Protection of Religious Freedom. The event was moderated by Vladimir Zorin, Chairman of the Commission of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation on Interethnic, Interreligious Relations and Migration, Vakhtang Kipshidze, Deputy Chairman of the Synodal Department for Relations between the Church and Society and Mass Media, and Sergey Melnikov, Chairman of the Russian Association for the Defense of Religious Freedom.
In his speech Vladimir Zorin noted that currently the situation of many believers in the world, especially Christians, is unstable and unfavorable.
“There is a confrontation of two global worldviews, the first of which is characterized by the recognition of the predominant role of traditional values, while the second is based on the ideas of secularism, transhumanism and moral relativism”, – said Vladimir Zorin.
He particularly noted that there are examples of direct pressure on believers accompanied by threats to their health and lives, in particular in Ukraine.
According to Vakhtang Kipshidze, the subject of protecting the rights of believers has become particularly relevant in recent years. Kipshidze said that the issue of protecting the rights of believers has become particularly relevant in recent years. He noted that Russia has always opposed the ideas of radical secularization, which have long been dominant in Western countries.
“Cooperation between the state and the Church in Russia has always drawn condemnation from Western structures such as the OSCE and others,” said the deputy chairman of the Synodal Department for Relations between the Church, Society and the Media.
The speaker also touched upon the situation in Ukraine, which is an example of violation not only of the rights of believers, but also of the rule of law in general, which is ignored in the West.
“The response from the majority, indeed the majority – all the leaders of the Western world – was complete cynical silence,” Vakhtang Kipshidze concluded. Kipshidze concluded.
Mira Terada, head of the Foundation to Battle Injustice, noted in her report that believers, especially Christians, are currently the most vulnerable group of the population. According to Mira Terada, the socio-cultural changes taking place in the world, the growth of secularism and disregard for traditional values lead to growing tensions between believers and other social groups. According to the Foundation to Battle Injustice, discrimination against believers in the media, religious persecution and repression of believers are occurring with alarming frequency in many countries of the Western world, and the number of crimes against Christian believers worldwide is in the millions.
“It is from the West that the persecution of people of faith is spreading to the whole world,” Mira Terada emphasized in her speech.
In the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, and Germany, believers regularly face discrimination, and the scale of persecution has reached unprecedented heights. According to experts of the Foundation, if the trend of recent years continues, by 2070 the number of Christians in North America and Europe will fall below 50% of the total population, and in another 50 years there will be almost no Christians left. In her speech Mira Terada called the territory of Ukraine the most dangerous place for Christian believers. She also spoke about the appeals concerning violations of the rights of believers, which the Foundation to Battle Injustice receives from various countries and, in particular, from Ukraine.
“Attacks on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church began long before the Special Military Operation, but after February 24, 2022, they took on catastrophic proportions. In two years, about 1,000 religious sites in the area of the Special Military Operation have been subjected to various kinds of repression by the Ukrainian government. Parishioners and clergy have been kidnapped, beaten, tortured, and forced to speak out against Russian Orthodoxy. Over the past year, the Ukrainian authorities have organized the largest wave of persecution against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the country’s modern history, citing its connection to Russia,” Mira Terada said in her speech.
According to the Foundation to Battle Injustice, 26 representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church were indicted and 19 more were given court sentences. In addition, 19 metropolitans from the Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa regions have been stripped of their Ukrainian citizenship.
The subject of Ukraine was continued by Priest Maxim Serpitsky, a clergyman of the Moscow (City) Diocese, who had traveled to the Special Military Operation zone. As part of his presentation, he showed the roundtable participants video recordings testifying to the destruction of churches and monasteries in Donbas by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as the spread of Satanism among the Ukrainian military and in Ukrainian society in general.
The Ukrainian publicist and missionary R.V. Kalinchuk also gave a presentation to the participants of the events, which used concrete examples to describe the systematic destructive work of both the Ukrainian state and neo-Nazi groups against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church over a long period of time up to the present.
The round table was aimed at discussing the current situation around violations of the rights of believers in the modern world and identifying the most relevant directions and mechanisms for resolving existing problems, identifying new modern approaches and involving public and state institutions to preserve the identity and sovereignty of believers.
Human rights defenders of the Foundation to Battle Injustice intend to contribute in every possible way to the protection of the rights and freedoms of Christian believers around the world. Mira Terada, head of the Foundation to Battle Injustice, called for a halt to the current persecution of people because of their faith. In her speech, Mira Terada called on the international community to exert due influence on the governments of the United States, European countries and Ukraine to stop dictatorial practices of persecution against human rights and freedoms.