Ukraine: Prime Minister supports initiatives of AUCCRO to protect families and children
The Head of Government and the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations agreed to continue cooperation aimed at fostering the governmental family policy. The subject of protection of families and children has become one of the key issues during the meeting between Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groisman and the heads of denominations held on February 22 at the Club of the Cabinet of Ministers, reports the Institute of Religious Freedom.
Speaking at the AUCCRO, the Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine, Yakov Dov Bleich noted in his welcoming speech that since his previous meeting with the Prime Minister, fruitful interaction with his office has been established. Regular dialogue and cooperation between the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers and the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations contribute to solving many important practical issues.
Metropolitan Epifaniy, Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, drew the attention of the Head of Government to the high number of divorces in Ukraine, and as a result, the problem of raising children with only one parent, the need to eliminate all orphanages in favor of the development of family forms of orphan education, the creation of appropriate social and economic conditions for saving pregnancies. “Therefore, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches emphasizes the need to raise the level of governmental family policy in the Ukrainian Government, which can be realized through the creation of a separate central executive authority or the office of the Government Commissioner for Family Policy,” said Metropolitan Epifaniy. In response, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman proposed to unite the efforts of government officials and the religious community to develop a state program to support families and children. He stressed that the relevant funds should be factored in during the budget planning for the next three years.
Bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Bohdan (Dzyurakh) mentioned the problems of commercial surrogate motherhood. He emphasized that this issue has significant psychological and moral and ethical components, affecting both the newborn children and their mothers. “It's not just about perceiving a child as a commodity, but also about destroying the dignity of a person and inflicting a deep psychological trauma,” added Vitaliy Krivitsky, bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine. According to him, under the contracts, which are offered to women to sign, the child is regarded as a commodity, for which a mother is forced to abort or pay a huge fine in case of some defects. The Head of the Government instructed his assistants to work out this issue and to develop proposals aimed at regulating this field.
Valeriy Antoniuk, President of the All-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Christian Baptists, also noted the importance of introducing educational programs for preparation for marital life and responsible parenthood. According to him, such educational work among young people could keep them from many mistakes and help avoid many negative social problems, including reducing the number of divorces and single mothers or parents, and prevent domestic violence in all its manifestations.
In addition, the participants of the meeting discussed other practical issues of state-confessional relations, including: a new procedure for the registration of religious organizations, the adoption of by-laws for the implementation of the principle of “money per student” through partial public funding of private educational institutions, the establishment of a fair price for gas and heating for temples and prayer houses.
Religious leaders proposed to reduce the bureaucratic burden on the process of distributing humanitarian assistance to religious organizations in favor of the neediest segments of the population, which could be facilitated by an inter-agency meeting in the Ministry of Social Policy. “We have achieved a high level of interaction. The questions we are discussing find a common understanding. Fostering spirituality, freedom of religion is what makes Ukraine strong in a difficult time: the time of opposition to armed aggression and the implementation of systemic changes,” said Volodymyr Groisman, summing up the discussion.
As reported, the first meeting of the Head of Government Volodymyr Groisman with the heads of confessions who are members of the AUCCRO took place in July 2017. Then Prime Minister of Ukraine declared that the state authorities were open to dialogue with the churches and ready to promote the activities of religious organizations. As reported by the IRS, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations urged the Verkhovna Rada to adopt the draft Resolution No. 8521 “On Measures to Protect Family Values and the Family Institute in Ukraine”. (Quelle: www.risu.org.ua, 24. Februar 2019)