A CALL for religious freedom, an end to religious discrimination in employment and education, and the right for religious views to be freely expressed in the media has been handed to the Czechoslovak Government by the Charter '77 dissident movement.
The document, called simply "No 9," said that it was of the utmost importance that believers and non-believers alike should have the right to express their opinions without fear of reprisal.
Ironically, three members of the Charter '77 movement were arrested shortly before the document was released, bringing to five the number now detained.
In their document the group claimed that there was a common tendency in processing job applications in Czechoslovakia to pressure people to "abandon their outmoded religious views" and that although religious denomination had been omitted from official documents for more than 20 years it was still known to play an important part in evaluating people.
"It is necessary to ensure that believers and non-believers have equal opportunity to become teachers, professors, scientific workers, civil servants and employees in courts and other institutions without having to hide their convictions," they said.
The group also protested against the fact that the dissemination of religious literature was considered an anti-State activity, and called on the government to recognise the right of Churches and religious societies to hold congresses and meetings.
"It would be tragic if human rights were seen as something that can be expediently subordinated to political or ideological aims. We still believe that our social system has the capacity to ensure that these rights are not only recognised, but also realised through popular initiative, in the spirit of mutual trust and cooperation."