On the eve of the upcoming Easter holidays, Commissioner for Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic points out that preserving the public health and safety of all citizens, including measures to suppress the spread of the COVID 19 virus epidemic, is a secular issue according to the Constitution and laws of Serbia. The competent state bodies are responsible for timely and efficient undertaking of measures, which at the same time implies the obligation of citizens and all social actors to respect them. Everyone is equal before the law, which means that rights and obligations apply equally to everyone. In that sense, it is necessary that the Church, as an important part of society, adheres to all measures and recommendations that are in force in our country when performing its ceremonies.
Commissioner emphasizes that the highest church dignitaries have a special responsibility, and that in their speeches regarding dogmatic-canonical and customary rules they should be guided primarily by the interests of believers and the protection of their health, including the presence of believers at the liturgy. Irresponsible and worrying are the messages of certain church dignitaries and clergy who put dogma and tradition in the performance of religious ceremonies above the health and well-being of their believers, thus taking responsibility for their health. It is the respect of the prescribed measures, both by believers and by religious communities, that directly affects their efficiency and the preservation of the health of all citizens of the Republic of Serbia.
This pandemic is a common trouble that befell us, but also an opportunity to understand all the connections and codependence of people, because the virus does not differentiate according to race, gender, language, national, religious or political affiliation, or any other personal characteristics. We are facing the great challenge, like most of societies in the world, and this is an opportunity to improve respect for the principles of equality and put the values of mutual understanding, respect, empathy and solidarity in the right place, especially with citizens belonging to vulnerable social groups, concludes Commissioner Jankovic.