"We must help so that a person could support himself independently," the Head of the UGCC at the meeting with the UN representative in the matters of refugees

Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church His Beatitude Sviatoslav discussed the issue of internally displaced persons with the representative of the UN Agency in the matters of refugees in Ukraine Pablo Mateu. The meeting took place on the request of the UN representative.

During the meeting Pablo Mateu underlined that the Head of the UGCC is the first religious leader with whom he met.

As the UN representative noted, his desire to meet with His Beatitude Sviatoslav is caused by the fact that, to his mind, the UGCC is one of the most active churches in Ukraine which are doing a lot in the social ministry, in particular, they help internally displaced persons and people who appeared in the so called "grey zone".

Mr Mateu gave an example of such work done by CF "Caritas-Mariupil'" regarding help to the internally displaced persons and their integration into the new environment. Also, he assessed very highly the work of CF "Caritas of Ukraine" in general. In relation to this, the sides discussed a number of initiatives, provided by «Caritas of Ukraine», in order to give necessary help to the internally displaced persons in Ukraine.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav emphasized that the Church, in particular, through "Caritas" has been doing everything possible so that the internally displaced persons do not appear in a kind of getto,  but rather it helps them integrate into the society. "Caritas" has special programs which help the internally displaced persons begin their own businesses. It helps to help oneself. And this corresponds to the social doctrine of the Catholic Church which is based on the dignity of a human being. For when a person depends on someone's help, it contradicts his dignity. Therefore we need to help so that a person could get to his feet himself and could support himself independently," said the Head of the UGCC.

"In all needs, particularly in those which relate to the central Ukraine, in the ministry done by Kyiv archeparchy and "Caritas Kyiv" for the internally displaced persons, we noted one the most urgent need  – the need of housing", – added His Beatitude Sviatoslav. In connection with this the sides discussed the initiative of the UN regarding social housing.  "Social housing – is not only for forcefully displaced people but also for the low income families in Ukraine in general," – observed the Primate.

In the UN representative's opinion, in Ukraine now there is no policy regarding social housing at all. In his words, the question of social housing must be an integral part of the state housing policy in general, that is why one of the UN initiatives – to help Ukraine work out certain criteria and certain laws specifically regarding social housing.

The Head of the Church on his part expressed great interest in the matter since the UGCC has big social problem too, both among the faithful and the forcefully displaced people.  "We would be very grateful for partnership collaboration in the question," – added the Primate.

Finally the participants of the meeting thanked each other. The UN representative noted that on their part they see the UGCC as their partner and want to collaborate in helping people who turned out to be in need today.

The UGCC Department of Information