The Conference of European Churches urges Prime Minister Gruevski for immediate release of Archbishop Jovan!

The Conference of European Churches, which from 3rd to 8th July held its 14th General Assembly in Budapest, at the end of its work issued an announcement in regard to the arresting and the imprisonment of His Beatitude Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, by the authorities of R. Macedonia.

The announcement states:

The Assembly of CEC has learned with great concern about the arrest and detention of Archbishop Jovan in R. Macedonia. It is believed that his detention is a result of him exercising his human right of religious freedom. Reaffirming that freedom of religion and belief is a fundamental right guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human rights and the European Convention on Human Rights to which R. Macedonia is a party.

The CEC Assembly affirms the call by the World Council of Churches on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to carefully investigate this case.

The CEC Assembly calls on the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe and the EU Special Representative on Human Rights to urgently look into this case. In particular, the CEC Assembly requests that the institutions see whether the detention conditions are in line with standards as set out by the Council of Europe.

We urge the government of R. Macedonia and H.E. Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister of R. Macedonia, to assure a fair trial and immediately release of Archbishop Jovan, pending his trial, in accordance with R. Macedonia’s national criminal law provisions.

We request the member churches of CEC to join in prayer and solidarity with Archbishop Jovan by sending letters of protest to the responsible authorities.