S.O.S. Romanian church in Malainita, Serbia sign now

Dear Madam/Dear Sir,

We appeal to you in order to draw your attention regarding the situation of a church built in Malainitsa (northeastern Serbia) by the local Romanian community.

On January 21, the mayor of the locality submitted an official letter to the curate of the church, ordering him to destroy the belfry until January 28 and to proceed with the demolition of the church within 15 days.

This order of the mayoralty is based on the pretense that the churchs construction was not approved by the local authorities. The fact is that no building in the village Malainitsa was ever constructed following such a procedure. The Romanian church is the first case when the authorities demand the completion of an approval procedure. Given the situation, this is clearly an unreasonable requirement directed in fact at preventing the Romanian minority to develop its own religious life. The church is built on a private property and no property issues are involved in the matter.

The general framework regarding Romanians in Serbia is confusing. They live compactly in two areas of Serbia. The group in northwest (Vojvodina) is officially recognized as a national minority and is therefore granted all the specific rights of a national minority. The group in northeastern Serbia (the Tymok Region), is officially ignored and, in consequence, no language, education or cultural rights are available for them.

The intention of the local authorities to proceed with the demolition of the church is wrong, immoral and ultimately illegal. Although the Romanians in Malainitsa might have broken some formal legal provisions concerning the need for an approval, such a requirement for them is unreasonable because nobody in the village was ever demanded to obtain such an approval for a private building, as it is usually the case in the countryside. Setting up unreasonable requirements for a minority group in comparison with the usual requested for the majority is a violation of the spirit of the international legislation regarding the protection of national minorities.

In the particular case of the church in Malainitsa, the Serb authorities are clearly in breach of the following provisions of the Council of Europes Framework Convention for National Minorities:
- article 4, regarding the promotion in all areas of social and cultural life of a full and effective equality between persons belonging to a national minority and those belonging to the majority
- article 5, regarding the obligation of the state to promote the conditions necessary for persons belonging to national minorities to maintain and develop their culture, and to preserve the essential elements of their identity, namely their religion, language, traditions and cultural heritage
- article 8, regarding the obligation of the state to recognize that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to manifest his or her religion or belief and to establish religious institutions, organizations and associations.

Hoping that everyone of you can help us to publicize this matter and determine the serbian government to undertake the appropriate measures, we thank you for your consideration.

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  • 18 January 2016996. Mirza M
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  • 15 January 2016995. Romi D
    What happend if the same problems are in Roumania? You serbians have a churches in Romania! The romanian people's rights in Serbia are not existing! No schools, no churches in roumanian language! Timoc Valley was Romanian teritories long time ago! What ha
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  • 26 November 2015979. Lacramioara H
    Sisters and brothers into Hristos, God bless you all. Help our Romanian brother from Malainita, Serbia to save and keep their church that was so hard to build, so they can pray in peace and love for God.
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Aida MasonBy:
Transport and infrastructureIn:
Petition target:
International romanian community and friends

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