Tuesday, August 14, 2007

SERBIA: Arbitrary legal status denials continue

This article was published by F18News on: 14 August 2007

By Drasko Djenovic, Forum 18 News Service http://www.forum18.org/

Although Milan Radulovic has been replaced as Serbian Religion Minister by Radomir Naumov, Radulovic is still responsible for deciding whether legal status should be given to religious communities, Forum 18 News Service has found. Some see Radulovic as still in charge of the Ministry, with new Minister Naumov functioning as a figurehead. Many of Serbia's so-called "non-traditional" religious communities are still being denied legal status, including Baptists, Old Catholics, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses and Hare Krishna devotees. This means that they are unable to legally carry out activities such as running bank accounts, owning property, or paying tax. Two unregistered communities known to Forum 18 have been able to run a bank account, buy property and publish literature, but it is unclear how long this will continue. Interviewed by Forum 18, ex-Minister Radulovic would not explain how specific problems caused to communities by the Religion Ministry could be resolved.

Serbian religious communities are still being denied legal status, Forum 18 News Service has found. Under the controversial 2006 Religion Law, any "non-traditional" community that previously had legal status lost this unless they submitted a new registration application by 7 May 2007 lost their legal status.

Without legal status, it is legally impossible for religious communities to carry out activities such as running bank accounts, inviting foreign religious workers to work with them, owning property, paying tax, buying or selling anything, publishing literature and having employees (see F18News 26 April 2007 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=948).

At least five religious communities were refused registration in July – Baptists, Pentecostals, Old Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses and the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement (which is separate from the Seventh-day Adventist Church), Forum 18 has learnt.

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As I mentioned in my comments(printed below the actual article) here on this article, I think this is more of the same.

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