Communique of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raška-Prizren regarding a series of hate crimes against the Serbian people and their Church on Kosovo and Metohija
May 31, 2018. The Diocese of Raška-Prizren (Serbian Orthodox Church) issued the communique regarding the series of hate crimes on Kosovo and Metohija. The following is a translation of the whole document:
“The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raška-Prizren strongly condemns the latest series of incidents which indicate that there is a serious deterioration of the security situation in which Serbs with their church live on Kosovo and Metohija.
Three days ago, dozens of Kosovo Albanians attacked a group of Serbian pilgrims while they were visiting the ruins of the Holy Trinity Church in the village of Petrič near Klina and performing the Pentecost procession around the site with their priest. The attackers, despite the massive police presence, stoned the pilgrims and injured three Serbs.
Yesterday, in Staro Gracko, village near Lipljan, a Serbian woman and her 6-month-old baby were injured in an incident provoked by a Kosovo Albanian. Also, a group of local Albanians near Žač, Klina Municipality, intercepted the vehicle of the local Serbian Orthodox priest, Fr. Stevan Marković, who was returning with his family from the service at Peć Patriarchate Monastery. They first blocked the road and then, when a larger group gathered, began hitting the car and broke the windshield. Both 5-year-old twins of the priest and his wife suffered shock from the incident, especially when one of the local attackers, also a member of the Keljmendi family which used to attack Serbian repatriates, threatened to bring weapons. Afterwards Fr. Stevan met the British Ambassador Mr. R. O’Connell in Osojane, whom he told the details of the attack, as well as the Petrič incident where he participated with the faithful in the service.
Also, last night the ambulance, in the Serbian village Novake was attacked. The door of the ambulance was broken and most of the documents therein were destroyed. The incident was reported to the police, but, as usual by now, it is not expected to have any results in this respect.
In addition to continuous violation of the decision of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo regarding the land belonging to the Dečani Monastery, which both the former and present mayor of Dečani persistently denies, and prevents its registration in the cadastre, as well as attempts to change the local road which passes by the monastery, into the main road to Montenegro, these latest incidents show that the security situation for Serbs on Kosovo and Metohija is intensifying. The Kosovo Institutions with their inactivity, and in the case of the Dečani Monastery with direct involvement, directly contribute to the escalation of the situation. Statements of the Dečani mayor and the Minister for Infrastructure against the Serbian Orthodox Church are attacking and irresponsible, and worsen already bad situation in this municipality.
Diocese of Raška-Prizren invites all competent authorities on Kosovo and Metohija to respect the laws in force and stop escalation of the ethnic violence and intolerance. Violation of the religious rights, particularly of the Orthodox Serbs on Kosovo and Metohija has been verified in the latest report of the State Department on religious freedoms, which states that the free access of the believers to certain holy places has been prevented and that there have been frequent violations of the laws which regulate rights of the Serbian Orthodox Church and minorities on Kosovo and Metohija.
Diocese also calls the representatives of the international community and institutions to do everything which is in their power to prevent continuation of the ethnic violence and enable normal and safe life of the Serbian people on Kosovo and Metohija”.