13.09.2018 at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, Poland, NGO “Public Advocacy” expressed concerns over violations of rights of Orthodox believers in Montenegro.
International non-governmental organization “Public Advocacy” being in special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council expressed concerns over violations of the rights of Orthodox believers in Montenegro at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, Poland. In particular, Head of the organization Oleg Denysov stated:
“The Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral is a religious organization that is part of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The Government of Montenegro in order to support the Macedonian Orthodox Church, which is not recognized by the Universal Orthodoxy has countenanced a series of violations of the rights of the believers of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Montenegrian government strives to regulate, by means of agreements, in a selective and discriminatory manner, primarily in relation to the Orthodox Church, the relations with the selectively chosen religious communities. Particularly, the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and Montenegro was concluded in 2011, which was followed by the Agreement Regulating Mutual Relations between the Government of Montenegro and Islamic Community and Agreement Regulating Mutual Relations between the Government of Montenegro and Jewish Community in 2012.
The stated Agreements are not only different, but also mutually opposed. The Orthodox Church requested on several occasions that its legal position be regulated by means of an agreement, as well. Unfortunately, this did not take place due to the political, not legal reasons, since the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights tried to condition the conclusion of the agreement with its influence on the internal church organization and autonomous canonical right of the Church.
In 2015, the Government prepared the Draft Law on Freedom of Religion. The Draft Law caused a considerable disapproval by the public. Legal experts assessed it as retrograde, as compared with the Communist Law from 1977 and as non-aligned with the European Convention. The right to the freedom of religion was significantly reduced in both individual and collective aspects. It was a severe attack from the positions of the state authorities on the internal autonomy and internal organizational establishment of the churches and religious communities, and the Article 52 of the Draft Law is particularly problematic, since it stipulates a new nationalization, i.e. seizure, in favour of the state, of all sacral facilities that were constructed by believers until the year of 1918.”
Head of NGO "Public Advocacy" also expressed concerns over the use of police forces in Montenegro to prevent the Metropolitan Amfilohije from exercising his liturgical ministry at a place of worship. Such actions are the manifestation of a lack of respect for the right to freedom of religion and constitute a violation of Montenegro's international commitments.
The human rights organization “Public Advocacy” called on the state of Montenegro to eliminate violations of the rights of Orthodox communities in the country.
Links to the full texts of the statements, which are devided in two separate sessions:
Also the full texts of the statements are available on the OSCE HDIM 2018 web-page by the link.