Jehovah's Witnesses, Bulgaria settle before the European Commission of Human Rights

According to an announcement dated March 20, 1998 the National Association of Jehovah's Witnesses of Bulgaria and the Republic of Bulgaria settled a case the Witnesses has started on September 21, 1995. The European Commission of Human Rights approved the settlement on March 9. By this settlement the government of Bulgaria undertakes to grant to the Witnesses "the public status of a recognised religion". The settlement also includes provisions for substitute civil service available to Witnesses who are conscientious objectors, and for freedom to choose medical treatment. "The settlement is good news -- commented Dr. Massimo Introvigne, mnaging director of CESNUR -- and may provide a model for other Eastern European countries. It comes after a number of European decisions against Greece for discriminating religious minorities including the Witnesses, the Roman Catholic Church, and Pentecostals".

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