S.O.S. Romanian church in Malainita, Serbia 

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  To:  International romanian community and friends 
  Dear Madam/Dear Sir, 

  We appeal to you in order to draw your attention regarding the situation of a 
church built in Malainitsa (northeastern Serbia) by the local Romanian 

  On January 21, the mayor of the locality submitted an official letter to the 
curate of the church, ordering him to destroy the belfry until January 28 and 
to proceed with the demolition of the church within 15 days. 

  This order of the mayoralty is based on the pretense that the church’s 
construction was not approved by the local authorities. The fact is that no 
building in the village Malainitsa was ever constructed following such a 
procedure. The Romanian church is the first case when the authorities demand 
the completion of an approval procedure. Given the situation, this is clearly 
an unreasonable requirement directed in fact at preventing the Romanian 
minority to develop its own religious life. The church is built on a private 
property and no property issues are involved in the matter. 

  The general framework regarding Romanians in Serbia is confusing. They live 
compactly in two areas of Serbia. The group in northwest (Vojvodina) is 
officially recognized as a national minority and is therefore granted all the 
specific rights of a national minority. The group in northeastern Serbia (the 
Tymok Region), is officially ignored and, in consequence, no language, 
education or cultural rights are available for them. 

  The intention of the local authorities to proceed with the demolition of the 
church is wrong, immoral and ultimately illegal. Although the Romanians in 
Malainitsa might have broken some formal legal provisions concerning the need 
for an approval, such a requirement for them is unreasonable because nobody in 
the village was ever demanded to obtain such an approval for a private 
building, as it is usually the case in the countryside. Setting up unreasonable 
requirements for a minority group in comparison with the usual requested for 
the majority is a violation of the spirit of the international legislation 
regarding the protection of national minorities. 

  In the particular case of the church in Malainitsa, the Serb authorities are 
clearly in breach of the following provisions of the Council of Europe’s 
Framework Convention for National Minorities: 
  - article 4, regarding the promotion in all areas of social and cultural life 
of a “full and effective equality between persons belonging to a national 
minority and those belonging to the majority” 
  - article 5, regarding the obligation of the state “to promote the conditions 
necessary for persons belonging to national minorities to maintain and develop 
their culture, and to preserve the essential elements of their identity, namely 
their religion, language, traditions and cultural heritage” 
  - article 8, regarding the obligation of the state “to recognize that every 
person belonging to a national minority has the right to manifest his or her 
religion or belief and to establish religious institutions, organizations and 

  Hoping that everyone of you can help us to publicize this matter and 
determine the serbian government to undertake the appropriate measures, we 
thank you for your consideration. 


  The Undersigned 

View Current Signatures 



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