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Religious oppression in Kosovo

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The Institute on Religion and Public Policy (IRPP) studied a proposed religion law for Kosovo. They concluded that the draft contravenes the standards of the European Convention, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations. The IRPP issued the following press release on 2006-MAY-30:

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Washington, D.C. – The Expert Committee on Legislation and Implementation of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy today released its review of the Draft Law on Religion under consideration by the Provisional Authorities of Kosovo.

The report, drafted by committee member William C. Walsh, an international human rights attorney in Washington D.C. specializing in religious freedom law, reviews the draft in keeping with European Convention, OSCE, and United Nations standards.

"The draft law’s approach contravenes the European Court of Human Rights’ application of a fundamental human rights policy of the European Community to religious freedom issues – 'the need to secure true religious pluralism, an inherent feature of the notion of a democratic society'." Similarly, the Court has emphasized the importance of "pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness, without which there is no democratic society," the report stated.

The report went on to state that,

"The draft law also violates OSCE standards. The OSCE, in a document entitled Freedom of Religion or Belief: Laws Affecting the Structuring of Religious Communities, has determined that population requirements such as Kosovo’s are "troublesome" in relation to fundamental human rights standards and that such duration requirements contravene OSCE standards."

As for UN standards, the report indicated that

"The draft law governing the ways that religious communities acquire rights essential to important religious functions and to economic survival constitute limitations on the organizational manifestations of religion or belief. Like any other limitation on freedom of religion, they must be justifiable under the exacting standards detailed in the United Nations Human Rights Committee General Comment No. 22. In addition, it must be clear that restrictions are not applied with discriminatory purpose or in a discriminatory manner. The draft law cannot meet these requirements."

In conclusion, the report was quite clear and concise that "The draft law contravenes European Convention, OSCE and UN standards." 1

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Institute’s Expert Committee Review of Kosovo Draft Religion Law," IRPP, 2006-MAY-30, at:

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Copyright © 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2006-MAY-31
Latest update: 2006-MAY-31
Author: B.A. Robinson

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