Source: European Parliament
In March 2020, in Budva, Montenegro, a Serbian Orthodox priest was detained for 72 hours for violating measures designed to contain the spread of COVID-19. In Kotor, another priest from the Serbian Orthodox Church and three worshippers were called for questioning after holding a religious service in a graveyard (1) .
Among its coronavirus containment measures, Montenegro issued a ban on public religious services from 13 March 2020.
However, these decisions come against the backdrop of the law on the freedom of religion, passed on 16 May 2019 (2) , which provides for a register of all religious buildings that were State-owned before Montenegro joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918.
This law would be damaging to the Serbian Orthodox Church, with which the State has still not signed a fundamental agreement as it has with the main religious communities.
How will the Commission ensure that the above-mentioned measures stay within the confines of what is strictly necessary to combat COVID-19 and do not violate the freedoms of conscience and religion enshrined, inter alia, in Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights?