Ukrainian religious leaders and human rights activists agreed to cooperate for promoting religious freedom in the format of a roundtable.
The first roundtable meeting was held on April 16, 2019 in Kyiv, with logistic support from the Center for Civil Liberties (CCL) and facilitating by the Institute for Religious Freedom (IRF), which in partnership co-organized the event.
The Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine is to become a platform for dialogue between the representatives of civil society, in particular, churches, religious and human rights organizations, as well as with the participation of academics and officials.
The first meeting brought together more than 70 participants, including religious leaders, specialists from NGOs, scholars and experts.
According to the co-organizers, the Roundtable is aimed to create free and secure space for the exchange of views and joint action for the affirmation of religious freedom and peace building, prevention of the manifestations of radical ideologies and extremism, maintenance of peace and security through identifying and focusing on the issues which pose a public interest and are a subject to a consensus of the participants.
Religious Freedom Roundtable is aimed to become a model for civil responsibility and self-organization, when every participant has an equal opportunity to become involved in the process of dialogue: to speak up, develop thematic public initiatives, share views and experience, discuss initiatives and suggest that other participants support them.
As stated by the co-organizers, the participants of the Roundtable are invited for dialogue based on mutual respect and equality, seeking the opportunities to cooperate for the common good and justice, which lies on the respect for human dignity.
The practical result of the Roundtable implies the development of long-term relationship between the representatives of religious, human rights and other NGOs, promotion of mutual understanding, respect and trust, emergence of practical initiatives for the development of conscious citizenship, despite potential differences in views and positions.
The Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine is expected to organize the discussions on the topical issues of public concern, coordinate dialogue and cooperation of the representatives of different churches, religious organizations, NGOs on a regular basis. In addition to religious leaders and human rights activists, also scholars, experts and officials from central and local government bodies will be invited for dialogue.