Archbishop Jovan (John) VI

Stop the terror, persecution
and discrimination on religious grounds
conducted by the Government of FYROMacedonia!

The U.S. State Department in regard to the religious freedoms in FYR Macedonia: there were reports of discrimination based on religious affiliation

Filed under: General — August 12, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

The U.S. State Department published its annual Religious Freedom report for FYR Macedonia.

In the Report it is stated that the government did not demonstrate a trend toward either improvement or deterioration in respect for and protection of the right to religious freedom. The remark that there was no “trend toward improvement” undoubtedly indicates the fact that there are matters that clearly should be improved!

In the Report it is noted that there are religious communities that complain that the law on religious communities is not implemented evenly. The report marks that there were also communities that complained of political influence in the registration process. The dominant MOC (Macedonian Orthodox Church) remains the sole registered Orthodox group! All other requests for registration of the Orthodox have been rejected. This statement of the Report confirms the known practice, that the state is protecting the monopoly of the MOC, and that there is deficiency of full implementation of the law for registration of religious communities, because in the court register there are more rejected, than registered religious communities! In support to this statement, evidence is given also by the part of the Report which says that “there is no official state religion, but a 2001 amendment to the constitution specifically lists five religious groups: MOC, Islamic Community of Macedonia, the Roman Catholic Church, the Jewish Community, and the Evangelical Methodist Church. Members of other religious groups asserted that the government favored the MOC.

Further, in the Report it is underlined that there were reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.

We remind the public that against Archbishop Jovan, for ten years in continuity, as soon as one ends, a new court process is started, and he is being imprisoned for the sixth time; and that a court-police pressure has begun against the other Bishops, monastics and faithful people of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric. The part regarding the corrupted and politicized judiciary is to be found in the State Department Report on Human Rights.

In regard to the fact that there are many things to be worked on in the field of the full respect of the religious freedoms of all citizens of FYR Macedonia equally, the Report testifies that the ambassador and other embassy officers met regularly with religious groups and the government as part of an overall policy to promote human rights. A logical conclusion is that if the human rights and religious freedoms were fully respected, there would not have been a need for the abovementioned meetings!

The Report specifically notes the statements of the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, who are stressing that they are subjected to harassment by some media and undue government monitoring, including being delayed by border guards, which they say was based on their religious beliefs.

It has been noted that Archbishop Jovan and the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric do not recognize the MOC’s self-declared autocephaly.

The Report also indicates the fact that the autocephaly of the MOC is not recognized by the other topical Orthodox Churches as well.


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