Serbian Clergy against the division of Kosovo and Metohija

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JOINT LETTER OF SERBIAN ORTHODOX CONGREGATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Dear Senators, Members of Congress and Administration officials:

As leaders of the Serbian Orthodox congregations and Serbian-American organizations from throughout the United States, we are writing to appeal for the protection of the security, human rights and religious freedom of the Serbian population in Kosovo and Metohija, and to express our strong opposition to the proposed ethnic partition of the territory.

For nineteen years now, the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija have been systematically deprived of their most basic human rights—including the right to worship freely, the right to use their own property, and even the right to visit the homes and churches from which they were forced to flee.  We are disturbed that after years of dialogue, and after commitments from the authorities in Pristina to implement standards for the protection of Serbs consistent with EU and international human rights norms, Kosovo Serbs continue to face discrimination, threats of violence, assaults to their basic human dignity and existence, and a general disregard by the authorities for the rule of law.

In this context, we resolutely oppose the proposed territorial partition of Kosovo and Metohija which would result—as all historic partitions have done—in a mass exodus and internal displacement of people. This scenario would also leave our most important churches, monasteries and holy sites exposed and vulnerable—devoid of basic 21st century legal and institutional safeguards.

For centuries, the Serbian Orthodox Church has shared the fate of the Christian population in Kosovo and Metohija, promoting peace, reconciliation and the dignity of every individual as a unique person created in God’s likeness and image.  We feel that, at a minimum, this voice of the Church also deserves to be heard by officials and policymakers as they deliberate vital issues that will affect its life.



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