UNSC Briefing on Threats to international peace and security (Ukraine Orthodox Church)

Bismark Anyanah

Bismark Anyanah
Minister Counsellor/ Deputy Political Coordinator
Permanent Mission of Ghana
Security Council Chamber
United Nations, New York
November 17, 2023




Mr. President, I thank you for giving me the floor,
I begin by thanking Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Madam Brands Kehris, for her briefing and also thank the additional briefers for sharing their views with the Council. We have listened carefully and observe with much concern the progressive degeneration in the religious fabric of Ukraine’s society. Of the many tragedies of war among nations is the tendency for the conflict to transcend beyond hard power questions into the religious, cultural and social facets of society and the core of their humanity, shattering their lives. We remain convinced of the need to end the war now and create conditions for addressing the several root causes and other instigating factors of the war, including religious tensions which predate the current hostilities.


Mr. President,
My delegation continues to hold the view that the Human Rights Council remains the appropriate international forum for the redress of all forms of human rights violations, including the assertions of religious persecution targeted at the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. We, therefore, approach today’s meeting from the standpoint of our vested interest in a peaceful and comprehensive resolution of the conflict and would like to reiterate the following four (4) key points.

First, we reiterate our call on the conflicting parties to uphold their commitments under international law to respect the rights of all persons to freedom of thought, conscience and religion as well as the right to manifest such religion. Religious rights and freedoms are universally recognized as inherent human rights and therefore, codified across a wide number of international instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination among others. We believe that upholding religious rights and freedoms contributes to peaceful and inclusive societies at the national and international levels and should be promoted at all times.


Second, we underscore the legal and moral mandate of political and religious authorities to promote tolerance and peaceful co-existence among the different religious sects. We are of the view that hate speech, discriminatory actions, destruction of cultural heritage, including religious sites and political subversion on religious grounds must be replaced by devout manifestations of religious tolerance, a culture of peace, mutual respect, stability, restoration and the reconstruction of the desolation of war.


Third, we reiterate the call for constructive dialogue in good faith among all stakeholders to find mutually agreeable solutions to the deep schisms caused by divergences surrounding the orthodox church. Such efforts must seek to address the conundrum of religious tensions as both a causative factor and consequence of the war and aim at supporting broader peace efforts.


Finally, we stress the urgency of an immediate and unconditional cessation of the hostilities in Ukraine and urge, once again, the support of the international community to facilitate, through diplomacy and dialogue, a peaceful, just and comprehensive resolution based on the principles of international law and the values and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations.


I thank you.