All-Ukrainian Council of Churches considers the bill “Principles of state language policy” a case of political manipulation

Tuesday, 29 May 2012, 08:05
The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (AUCCRO) expresses its concern regarding events resulting from placing on the agenda of Verkhovna Rada bills that harm the normal constitutional functioning of the Ukrainian language, in particular, the bill “Principles of state language policy” (reg. no. 9073), initiated by deputies S.V. Kivalov and V.V. Kolesnichenko.
The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (AUCCRO) expresses its  concern regarding events resulting from placing on the agenda of Verkhovna Rada bills that  harm the normal constitutional functioning of the Ukrainian language, in particular, the bill “Principles of state language policy” (reg. no. 9073), initiated by deputies S.V. Kivalov and   V.V. Kolesnichenko. These concerns were addressed by AUCCRO and forwarded to the Head of Verkhovna Rada Volodymyr Lytvyn and the national deputies.  The statement was signed by His Beatitude   Sviatoslav (Shewchuk), Head of UGCC; the UGCC Primate also serves as the Council’s chairman. “It is with regret and sadness that we are forced to constitute that every time prior to important elections in our country, some politicians attempt to exploit issues, which hinder the unity of the Ukrainian people and introduce splits and confusion into the social-state organism.  It is troubling that issues sacred for national self-determination and stability, such as language, history and religion become the focus of political manipulations. Council members are also deeply troubled by the social tension which has emerged around issues of “our country’s life, such as the function of language and the threat of separatism.” Representatives of Church and religious organizations remind all that they had already addressed this same issue with community and political activists, as early as 2006 and find it regrettable that in 2012 it is necessary to do this once again. “Language is God’s gift to humans,” reads the AUCC statement directed to Ukrainian people.  “Its mission is to unite people rather than to separate them; to assist in mutual understanding rather than to sow animosity. We are convinced that in our country there should be no placing of one language against another. Ukraine’s Constitution not only affirms the official status of Ukrainian language as the state language, but also places responsibility on the state to support the development and functioning of Russian and other national languages.” Therefore the representative of church and religious organizations urge state, political and community activists of all levels to uphold the Constitution and not to transform the language issue into an object of opposition, not to surround its resolution with animosity and hatred; to bear in mind the responsibility one bears for the effects of one’s decisions – not only before others, but also before God. “It is also with a similar responsibility that one should deal with the issue of separatism, which threatens the independence and sovereignty of our country. Ukraine has gone through painful centuries to achieve unification of its historic lands into one country.  Our people have sacrificed millions of lives for their sovereignty, freedom and independence.  One can regard one of their biggest achievements – the ability to find understanding and to peacefully resolve even the most complex problems. We should value this – our common attribute – as the most precious treasure. Leaders of various churches and religious organizations point out that, in spite of the fact that their confessions praise God and serve Him in various languages and styles, they find understanding “for the sake of the common good, the unity of the Ukrainian people, the guaranteeing of the rights and freedoms of each person who resides in Ukraine, they find mutual understanding and work for the good of the native land.  They urge all the Ukrainian people – without delineations of East and West, North and South, to join through mutual understanding and cooperation, harmony, unity and consolidation in developing our communal home – Ukraine.

UGCC Department of Information

Photo: AUCCRO delegation visiting Canada
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