Montenegro is – in terms of both its size and population – one of the smallest European states. After the collapse of the Yugoslav federation in 1989,1https://history.state.gov/countries/montenegro Montenegro remained a part of a smaller Federal Republic of Yugoslavia but voted in a referendum of 1992 in favour of federation with Serbia, though this excluded Montenegrin Albanians and Muslims who refused participation.2https://www.nato.int/acad/fellow/99-01/lukic.pdf Following a second referendum in 2006, parliament declared the independence of the country.3https://history.state.gov/countries/montenegro
The population of Montenegro is around 621,718 according to World Bank 2020 data;4https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?locations=ME made up of 45% Montenegrin, 28.7% Serb, 12% Bosniak, 4.9% Albanian, 4.9% undeclared and 4.5% other populations.5https://www.britannica.com/place/Montenegro/People According to the 2011 census, the religious demographics consist of 72% Orthodox (Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) or Montenegrin Orthodox church (CPC), 19.1% Islamic, 3.4% Roman Catholic, Atheists 1.2%, and other groups (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Adventists, Buddhists) below 1%. The SPC are reported to account for 90% of the orthodox population. Religious beliefs are strongly correlated with ethnicity.6https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-report-on-international-religious-freedom/montenegro/
Montenegro is a member of the UN, the World Trade Organization, NATO, Council of Europe and Union for the Mediterranean.
|Constitution and government||Education and children’s rights||Family, community, society, religious courts and tribunals||Freedom of expression advocacy of humanist values|
Countries: Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Central African Republic, Chile, Congo, Republic of the, Ecuador, Estonia, Fiji, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Japan, Kenya, Kosovo, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, South Africa, South Sudan, Taiwan, Ukraine
Countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Croatia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Countries: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Congo, Republic of the, Djibouti, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Honduras, Iceland, India, Japan, Korea, Republic of, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Timor-Leste (East Timor), United States of America, Uruguay
Countries: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Congo, Republic of the, Dominica, Ecuador, Estonia, France, Ghana, Guatemala, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Republic of, Kosovo, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sweden, Taiwan, Uruguay, Venezuela
Countries: no countries relate to this boundary condition
This condition is unusual in that it is applied in cases where there is some social discrimination, but it is not pervasive or nationwide. This condition is applied when there is sufficient background evidence to warrant the assertion that discrimination is not anomalous but widespread, and this condition may be applied for example even where if there is no legislative discrimination or where the non-religious may have legal recourse against such discrimination. However, societal discrimination (i.e. discrimination by peers, as opposed to state or legal discrimination) is not easily measured, and for this reason the Report does not currently have similar more severe boundary conditions to capture higher levels of social discrimination per se. In principle these may be introduced in future. However, we consider that countries with actual higher levels of social discrimination against the non-religious will generally already meet other higher level (more severe) boundary conditions under this thematic strand.
Applied when overriding acts of oppression by the State are extreme, to the extent that the question of freedom of thought and expression is almost redundant, because all human rights and freedoms are quashed by authorities.
Countries: North Korea
Countries: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malta, Moldova, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Countries: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Egypt, Eritrea, Fiji, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kosovo, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Switzerland, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Countries: Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Italy, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, New Zealand, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Venezuela
Countries: Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of, Cuba, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Guinea, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Countries: Andorra, Armenia, Benin, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Congo, Republic of the, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Niger, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda
Countries: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, Republic of, Kosovo, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu
This condition is applied where there are miscellaneous indicators that organs of the state offer various forms of support for a religion, or to religion in general over non-religious worldviews, suggesting a preference for those beliefs, or that the organs of that religion are privileged.
Countries: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belize, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Montenegro, Mozambique, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zimbabwe
Countries: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kiribati, Korea, Republic of, Laos, Latvia, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vanuatu, Zimbabwe
This condition highlights countries where schools subject children to fundamentalist religious instruction with no real opportunity to question fundamentalist tenets, or where lessons routinely encourage hatred (for example religious or ethnic hatred). The wording “significant number of schools” is not given a rigid quantification (sometimes the worst-offending schools are unregistered, illegal, or otherwise uncounted); however the condition is not applied in cases where only a small number of schools meet the description and may be anomalous, as opposed to being indicative of a widespread problem.
Countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, Oman, Palestine, Paraguay, Qatar, Russia, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Countries: Angola, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Congo, Republic of the, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, North Korea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia, Singapore, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia
Countries: Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Finland, Georgia, Haiti, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Monaco, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Tunisia, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, Yemen, Zambia
Countries: Argentina, Armenia, Belize, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, China, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Guinea, Haiti, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Samoa, Swaziland, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia
Countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Poland, Russia, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Countries: Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kiribati, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Moldova, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Tonga, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Countries: Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Cyprus, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Grenada, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Countries: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Denmark, Eritrea, Germany, Haiti, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Vanuatu
Countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Fiji, Gambia, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Macedonia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
This condition may apply if specifically religious education, religious materials, or specific religious denominations are so tightly controlled that children are in fact over-protected from exposure to religion and are likely unable to explore or construct their own worldview in accordance with their evolving capacities. This condition helps us to classify states (perhaps with secular constitutions) which have criminalized specifically religious beliefs or practices. This condition is not applied if the restricted beliefs or practices are found to be outlawed due to their being of an extremist variety. While this condition does not directly reflect discrimination against non-religious persons or non-religious ideas, it does represent an overall threat to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief; such restrictions could spill over to affect non-religious beliefs later; and they pose a risk of backlash against over-zealous secular authorities or even against non-religious individuals by association.
Countries: Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bhutan, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Korea, Republic of, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Montenegro, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe
|Free and Equal|
The Constitution of the Republic of Montenegro7https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Montenegro_2013.pdf?lang=en guarantees freedom of thought, expression, conscience and religion for everyone. The right to conversion is explicitly guaranteed (Article 46).
There is no state religion and the Constitution states that religious communities should be separated from the state (Article 14). The ministry of Human and Minority Rights is responsible for regulating relations between the state and religious groups. The Constitution prohibits direct or indirect discrimination on any grounds. It also prevents censorship and racial, national and religious hatred or discrimination. 8globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/me-religion.htm
While Montenegro is by Constitution a secular state, the line between church and state is often ignored and religious groups are politicized. The informal group “Atheists of Montenegro” reportedly advocates for free expression and compliance to this separation, so that religious institutions and leaders do not act as political actors which take advantage of their followers by “manipulating the sense of belonging to a religion” for political benefit.9https://www.vijesti.me/vijesti/drustvo/261380/ateisti-cg-vjerske-organizacije-manipulisu-osjecanjima-gradana
In 2019, the Montenegrin parliament passed a new law on Freedom of Religion or Beliefs and Legal Status of Religious Communities (commonly referred to as the “Religious Freedom Law”) , requiring religious communities to show evidence of property ownership prior to 1918. This meant that the majority of the Serbian Orthodox Churches’ properties in Montenegro would be transferred to state ownership. In 2021, following “large-scale protests” by the SPC and a change of government leadership, the previous law was revised, and a new version passed by parliament. While the SPC was satisfied with the changes, other groups such as the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, Catholics and Islamic communities complained that they were not given adequate time or not consulted at all to submit suggestions, showing clear preference for the SPC.10https://balkaninsight.com/2020/12/18/montenegro-alters-contentious-religion-law-satisfies-serbian-church/ Meanwhile, the SPC challenged transfers of properties that it said it owned by municipal authorities to the MPC and private individuals. The SPC and MPC reportedly dispute ownership of some 750 Orthodox sites.11https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-report-on-international-religious-freedom/montenegro/
Under the new law, religious groups are no longer required to register, but they must do so if they wish to acquire legal status. According to the US State Department:12https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-report-on-international-religious-freedom/montenegro/
“Only groups with legal entity status have the right to own or rent property; hold bank accounts in their own name; hire employees; receive a tax exemption for donations and sales of goods or services directly related to their religious activities; and receive judicial protection of their community, members, and assets. The new law states that unregistered religious groups may operate freely with the right to practice their faith, including proselytizing and receive donations. Unregistered groups remain eligible to receive financial or other assistance from the state through the [the Ministry of Justice, Human, and Minority Rights (MHMR)].”
The government has agreements with the Islamic Community of Montenegro (ICM), Jewish Community of Montenegro (JCM), and Holy See that further define the legal status of the respective groups and regulate their relationship with the state. However it has no such agreements with other religious groups.13https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-report-on-international-religious-freedom/montenegro/
The MHMR provides funding to some religious groups, which they could use for maintenance of religious shrines, educational or cultural projects, or social and medical insurance for clergy. Recognized religious communities also receive in-kind assistance from other government ministries and from local governments.14https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-report-on-international-religious-freedom/montenegro/
Public education in Montenegro is secular by law, from kindergarten to university, though there are some private religious institutions;15https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/population-demographic-situation-languages-and-religions-51_en one private madrassah at secondary level and one secondary school run by the Serbian Orthodox Church. Other than their specialized religious education, these schools follow the state curriculum.16https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-report-on-international-religious-freedom/montenegro/ Religious communities are allowed to establish religious schools apart from primary level education and their educational programs/material are supervised to ensure compliance with the Constitution and law.17https://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/?pdf=CDL-REF(2015)032-e
ll Montenegrin citizens have equal rights to education and cannot be discriminated against based on race, gender, religion, ability or socio-economic background.18https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/montenegro_en The Ministry of Justice, Human and Minority Rights does provide religious communities with some funding, which then is partially used for educational projects.19https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-report-on-international-religious-freedom/montenegro/
In 2020 the topic of religion in school was brought to debate when a state primary school teacher contacted students through social media and called on them to go to church service and pray for a ‘good school year’. The teacher had already been suspended for telling students to draw symbols expressing opposition to religious freedom laws. The Ministry of Education also called for her suspension and various NGOs called the acts of manipulation of children for religious purposes abuse.20https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-report-on-international-religious-freedom/montenegro/
In 2017, Montenegro made Female Genital Mutilation a criminal offence, in compliance with the Istanbul Convention. As a severe violation of human rights, the practice is now punishable with up to 5 years in prison.21https://balkaninsight.com/2017/01/27/montenegro-to-sharpen-law-against-female-genital-mutilation-01-27-2017/
Child marriage rates are low, affecting an estimated 1% of the Montenegrin population. However, this percentage rises in Egyptian/Roma communities where 28.1% of women and 16.5% of men aged 15-19 are married/in union.22https://www.unicef.org/montenegro/media/2586/file/MNE-media-MNEpublication23.pdf
Religious and ethnic tensions continue to bubble under the surface of the country. For this reason, inciting violence or hatred towards different groups based on religion is punishable with imprisonment from 6 months to 5 years (Article 370 of the Montenegrin Criminal Code).23http://legaldb.freemedia.at/legal-database/montenegro/
Following August 2020 parliamentary elections, acts of violence against religious groups and their members were reported, including the shooting of an Islamic Community of Montenegro (ICM) member’s home, the smashing of windows of ICM facilities, and threatening messages and acts of intimidation targeting Bosniaks and other Muslims in Pljevlja and other cities with religiously diverse populations. Religious and political leaders across the spectrum condemned the attacks and issued statements of support. After being criticized for slow progress in investigating the cases, police arrested three suspects for writing anti-Bosniak graffiti in the Pljevlja attacks.24https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-report-on-international-religious-freedom/montenegro/
The relationship between CPC and SPC remains tense, with the Serbian Orthodox Church (Montenegro’s dominant religion) reporting multiple cases of discrimination in Montenegro.25inserbia.info/today/2013/08/serbian-orthodox-church-discriminated-in-montenegro-perovic/ The religious freedom law in 2019 sought to weaken the SPC’s power by transferring SPC property to the state, sparking protest. Then-President Milo Djukanovic made clear his view of the SPC as a political vehicle for ‘Greater Serbia’ nationalism in the country, emphasizing the need for a stronger CPC presence.26https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/news/montenegro-needs-own-church-to-repel-serb-nationalism-president/ SPC priests accused the government of wanting to plunder and destroy holy sites, causing outrage. In response, Djukanovic stated that the SPC was “skillfully manipulating” believers into panic and protest, as the SPC’s properties would remain freely open for public use, with the only difference being that the chain of command to Belgrade, Serbia would be cut off.27https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/news/montenegro-needs-own-church-to-repel-serb-nationalism-president/
Following the country’s independence in 2006, Montenegro passed the Law on Gender Equality28https://www.legislationline.org/download/id/8174/file/Montenegro_law_gender_equality_2007_am2015_en.pdf in 2007, criminalizing gender discrimination. In becoming a candidate to enter the European Union, Montenegro has committed to improving women’s rights in the country and aims to achieve gender equality. The EU’s Gender Equality Index measuring gender equality in areas of work, health, power etc., rates Montenegro at 55 points, behind the average of current EU countries which is at 67.4.29https://eurogender.eige.europa.eu/system/files/events-files/gender_equality_index_2019_report_final.pdf
Regarding reproductive rights, abortion is legal on request until 10 weeks. Abortions at later weeks are subject to ethics committee approval on basis of medical/ crime/ mother’s endangerment reasons.
There have been widespread reports of sex-selective abortion through the use of illegal gender tests.30https://balkaninsight.com/2017/09/28/montenegro-s-open-secret-illegal-gender-tests-for-unborns-09-27-2017 Selective abortion is due to “son preference and inheritance practices”, resulting in abnormal sex ratios at birth.31https://www.rferl.org/a/montenegro-sex-selective-abortions-boys-demographics/31294610.html; https://www.aljazeera.com/gallery/2018/3/8/girls-unwanted-this-is-not-a-country-for-women his issue was at first excused by ruling coalition member Dragan Ivanovic who in response stated, “every citizen has the right to influence the reproduction of their children”. Following debate, Ivanovic withdrew his “reckless” statement which disregarded the negative effects on women. Ironically, the strongly ‘anti-abortion’ Serbian Orthodox Church’ (SPC) did not vocally oppose his initial statement, rather it was women’s rights activists who condemned his statement in such context and highlighted the discriminatory nature of such practices.32https://www.rferl.org/a/montenegro-sex-selective-abortions-boys-demographics/31294610.html
While women have the right to abort, there are undeniable cultural/religious influences behind such fetus-gender discrimination which fuels such a strong preference for boys. These influences are also reflective of the severe discrimination endured by the mother’s who face “criticism and condemnation”, “trauma” and are treated as “less worthy” when they don’t produce a son for their husband and wider family.33https://balkaninsight.com/2017/09/28/montenegro-s-open-secret-illegal-gender-tests-for-unborns-09-27-2017/
Homophobia is still deeply rooted in Montenegro. LGBTI+ people permanently face discrimination and do not enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals. They are unable to adopt as couples, unable to donate blood and conversion therapy remains legal.34https://www.equaldex.com/region/montenegro
However, there have been steps to improve this through progressive legislation. In 2020, Montenegro became the first Balkan non-EU State to allow same-sex civil partnerships; embodying “European values”. Previous attempts to pass such legislation was blocked by conservative ethnic minority representatives, who accused the governments of “undermining traditional values” and attempting to “impose a new value system”.35https://balkaninsight.com/2020/07/02/montenegro-parliament-narrowly-votes-to-legalize-same-sex-unions/
The first same-sex union was then recorded in July 2021, between two Montenegrin women from abroad.36https://balkaninsight.com/2021/07/26/montenegro-makes-history-with-first-same-sex-marriage/ While legalized civil partnership is a step forward, surveys show that half of Montenegrin citizens still consider homosexuality a “danger to society” and 71% consider it an illness.37https://balkaninsight.com/2020/07/02/montenegro-parliament-narrowly-votes-to-legalize-same-sex-unions/
In 2019, the SPC carried out its first baptism for a transgender man.38https://www.rferl.org/a/montenegro-baptism-first-ransgender-man-lgbt-serbian-orthodox-church/30260221.html This was met with mixed response, some praising the progressiveness, while the man suffered a late-night attack by intruders in his home. Also, while the man’s baptism was carried out, a medical justification was used and those leading the SPC simultaneously called same-sex relationships liberal propaganda of “mindless gender ideology.”39https://www.rferl.org/a/montenegro-baptism-first-ransgender-man-lgbt-serbian-orthodox-church/30260221.html
Freedom of expression, including freedom of the press, is guaranteed under the Constitution, however, it appears to be inconsistently upheld in practise.
The media landscape tends to be partisan and combative. Reporters covering corruption and organized crime risk violence. As a result of this climate, journalists are reported to practise self-censorship.40https://freedomhouse.org/country/montenegro/freedom-world/2021
In 2020, a number of people were arrested in connection with posts to public and private Facebook pages that contained satirical content about state symbols or remarks perceived to be insulting to the authorities.41https://freedomhouse.org/country/montenegro/freedom-world/2021
Under Article 370 of the Criminal Code,42https://www.legislationline.org/download/id/8406/file/Montenegro_CC_am2018_en.pdf it is a crime to cause and spread religious hatred. However, this is defined as to include the mockery of religious symbols, which limits the free expression of those who are not of the religion ‘mocked’ or are non-religious. This is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from six months to 8 years. Imprisonment can be extended to 10 years in circumstances where the result is an abuse of position or authority, if it leads to violence, or if the consequences are deemed detrimental to the coexistence of people, national minorities, or ethnic groups.43http://legaldb.freemedia.at/legal-database/montenegro/
In practice, while any de facto blasphemy law inevitably creates “chill”, the wide range of this law appears not to make mockery alone punishable with a prison sentence. Instead, the penalty of imprisonment appears restrained to actually hateful acts. Nevertheless, the law appears to place a potential criminal restriction on “mockery” of religion.44https://end-blasphemy-laws.org/countries/europe/montenegro/
|↑6, ↑11, ↑12, ↑13, ↑14, ↑16, ↑19, ↑20, ↑24||https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-report-on-international-religious-freedom/montenegro/|