Last Updated 10 November 2016

Montenegro is in terms of both its size and population is one of the smallest European states. After the collapse of the Yugoslav federation in 1989 Montenegro remained a part of a smaller Federal Republic of Yugoslavia but voted in a referendum of 1992 in favour with the federation with Serbia. In 2006, parliament declared independence of the country. The population of Montenegro is around 620,000 according to National Statistics Office estimation 2011, where 72 % of the population identify themselves as Orthodox (Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) or Montenegrian Orthodox church (CPC), 19 % as “Islamic” and 3.5 % as Roman Catholic.

Systemic Discrimination
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Constitution and government

The constitution 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 of censorship and racial, national and religious hatred or discrimination. Religious groups must register with the police within 15 days after establishing a group. This registration provides the group with status of legal entity.

However, some government funding is given to religious groups to supplement voluntary contributions.

Family, community and society

Mockery of religion

It is a crime to cause and spread religious hatred. However, this is defined as to include the mockery of religious symbols. This is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from six months to 10 years in some circumstances; for example, if it is the result of 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. 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, the penalty of imprisonment being restrained to actually hateful acts. Nevertheless, the law appears to place a potential criminal restriction on “mockery” of religion.

Religious tensions

The relationship between CPC and SPC remains still tense. The Serbian Orthodox Church reported discriminations in Montenegro.

In 2014 a new conflict between the Islamic communities of Montenegro and of Serbia occurred during the opening of a religious kindergarten in Montenegro. The Muslims of Montenegro called the opening as an act of interference in their internal affairs. The leader of the Islamic community in Montenegro urged the authorities to close all religious schools which are based in another country. He also accused the Serbian leader of Islamic community of supporting Wahhabism and religious extremist groups in Montenegro.


Homophobia is still deeply rooted in Montenegro. LGBT people permanently face discrimination and do not enjoy the same rights heterosexuals.

Freedom of expression, advocacy of humanist values

Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the constitution. In 2011 the government completely decriminalized defamation which led to the decreased numbers of defamation. The rights of access of information is protected by the constitution as well, but there are several court case regarding the problematic implementations of the rights.

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