Joint Letter of the Serbian Orthodox Bishops in the United States of America

Deputy Secretary John J. Sullivan
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

March 27, 2018

Dear Deputy Secretary Sullivan:

We, the bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Dioceses in the United States, are writing to express our grave concern over yesterday’s assault by the Kosovo Police on Marko Djuric, Director of the Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija, as well as journalists and unarmed citizens. Our concern is particularly heightened noting that this brutality seems to be an integral part of an orchestrated campaign against Kosovo's Serbian population, coming in the wake of the assassination of Oliver Ivanovic.

In a provocative show of force, the police force stormed a meeting between citizens and government officials fully-armed and with shock bombs. Over 34 people were seriously injured requiring hospitalization, while Marko Djuric was unlawfully arrested, beaten, and paraded through Pristina before jeering crowds.

Yesterday’s events demonstrate once again that the Kosovo Albanian authorities are unwilling to assure the minimum of basic civic and human rights, including the right to peacefully assemble, to the Serbian population living in its own land. Moreover, these actions show a wanton disregard for the obligations Pristina has itself undertaken to implement essential human and civil rights standards as part of its Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, in addition to contravening the letter and spirit of the Brussels dialogue.

We call on you, Mr. Deputy Secretary, to show that the United States remains committed to protecting the most fundamental rights and basic human dignity of the Kosovo Serbian population by condemning yesterday’s police brutality in Kosovska Mitrovica, and by making clear to the authorities in Pristina that the United States will never condone beatings of peaceful citizens, journalists, and public officials.

Respectfully yours,

Rt. Rev. Bishop Maxim
Rt. Rev. Bishop Longin
Rt. Rev. Bishop Irinej