The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the FYROM opposes the press release of the Synod of the FYROMian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric (MOC-OA) [sic] issued on 11.03.2010, which violates the human rights of certain groups of citizens of the FYROM, enhances their stigmatization and contrary to the basic teachings of this institution, spreads hatred and takes over the role of a judge.
MOC-OA [sic] spreads hatred and judges!
MOC-OA [sic] is not competent to recognize, as it is stated in the press release, but is obliged to respect the legal system of the state. This is pursuant to the Constitution and the Law on Legal Status of Churches, Religious Communities and Religious Groups, providing that “the church….shall perform its activities in compliance with the positive legal regulations in the FYROM.”
The Constitution of the FYROM leaves no dilemma regarding the relation between the state and the church, according to which the church, religious community and religious group are separated from the state and are equal before the law. This is a definition of secularism in a democratic society and every harsh attempt for interference of religious communities in the legal order of the state must be sanctioned.
In a bid to defocus the public from its internal problems, MOC-OA [sic] should not focus on satanizing everyone else in the society. The interference in the demographic policy, including the privacy of the decision on the number of children in one family, is a direct contradiction to the commitment of MOC-OA [sic] for privacy in the sexual orientation. The nebulous statement on violation of the rights of the “others” by banning the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, is not only beyond the domain of the expertise and competence of a religious institution, but it also represents spread of misinformation and fear, action that is not permissible in a democratic society.
The lack of knowledge in the field of human rights cannot be an excuse for this unscrupulous insult to the human rights of certain groups and spread of hatred, which is not done for the first time by MOC-OA [sic], and is contrary to the Christian spirit it should be spreading.
The rule of law is a feature of a democratic society and this means respect for laws and legal order by each and everyone, even the largest religious community in the state.
This act of MOC-OA [sic] together with the public appearances and activities of the Government of FYROM have emphasized recently the frequent emergence of discrimination and different types of violence towards certain group of citizens only on the basis of their sexual orientation as well as their abuse for the purposes of daily politics and concealing the major problems in the society.
This only reaffirms the need for adoption of efficient and applicable Law on Prevention and Protection from Discrimination, so we call on the Assembly of the FYROM to seriously start the process of passing this crucial law, but not in the form proposed by the Government. The Parliament should pass an act that would really provide protection of citizens from discrimination, which is unfortunately metastasizing in every pore of our society.
Skopje, 16 March 2010
MOC-OA [sic] press release
 Article 7, Law on Legal Status of Churches, Religious Communities and Religious Groups, Official Gazette of FYROM, No.113/07 as of 20.09.2007
 Article 19 of the Constitution of FYROM
 The comments to the draft Law on Prevention and Protection from Discrimination by the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the FYROM are available on the website of the Helsinki Committee for human rights in Skopje.
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