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Ethnic and Religious Clashes

Ethnic and Religious Clashes

2015 saw an outrageous case of a secret demolition of the St. Athanasios Orthodox Church of the Dhermi settlement in the Himara region, where representatives of both Albanian and Greek communities live.

This was carried out early in the morning (4 am) on August 26 by the state construction inspection in order to prevent a conflict between two ethnic communities.

According to the statement of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, this incident is a violation of the universal right to freedom of religion and atheism, as well as a violation of the current agreement between the Government of the Republic of Albania and the Albanian Orthodox Church (Law No. 10057, January 22, 2009). According to this law "Buildings and facilities that serve for religious ceremonies, as well as the ceremonies themselves are considered sacred." Intervention of state authorities in the affairs of the church, in accordance with Art. 21 / 1,2 is prohibited. The church emphasises that in this case the destruction of the temple was done secretly, without official notification of its leadership.

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