MPs call for end of persecution of black pastor's church

Thirty Ukrainian MPs sent a statement to Viktor Bondarenko, head of the National Committee on Religious Matters, asking him to prevent the persecution of Pastor Sunday Adelaja, head of a Pentecostal church called the Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for all Nations in Ukraine (GPN), on the basis of religion. This news was posted on RISU’s Ukrainian site on 18 March 2004.

According to the MPs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine is illegally refusing Pastor Adelaja, a Nigerian citizen, permission to reside in Ukraine. Pastor Adelaja’s permit for residency in Ukraine expired on 14 March 2004.

“Someone may not like the Protestant Church and a black pastor, but this church [GPN] has thousands of Ukrainian faithful,” reads the statement of the MPs. “Not only are Sunday Adelaja’s rights infringed upon, but also the constitutional rights of thousands of citizens to freedom of religion are violated. In a law-abiding state, one cannot be judged on this basis. We treat this case as persecution on the basis of religion,” reads the statement.

According to the press service of Deputy Chernovetskyi, among those 30 MPs who signed the statement is also Leonid Kravchuk, first president of Ukraine and currently member of the Social and Democratic Party of Ukraine United.

If the Ministry of Internal Affairs does not give Pastor Adelaja permission to reside in Ukraine, the MPs will appeal to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.