Society 17:50 14/02/2015

Azerbaijani Authorities use tolerance facade to camouflage serious human rights violations

The government of Azerbaijan claims it supports religious tolerance but in reality seriously restricts freedom of religion or belief. It uses a tolerance facade and denials of reality to camouflage serious human rights violations, reads the Report on religious freedom in Azerbaijan, compiled by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee in cooperation with the news service of human rights organization "Forum 18".

According to the report twelve prisoners of conscience were in January 2015 in jail for their exercise of freedom of religion or belief. Organization "Forum 18" is not aware of a single case where the official, hindering the right to freedom of conscience, was punished.

It is noted in the article that the Government of Azerbaijan also targets persons representing what it describes as a radical Islamic threat, but does not implement the OSCE security concept it is formally committed to. According to this concept, respect for human rights defends national and international security. The authorities have principally targeted less radical elements who have been critical of the regime. Mubariz Qurbanli the head the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations, in an interview with Trend news agency complained of “minor groups” among Muslims who, he argued, were dangerous and should not be allowed. However he did not identify any alleged terrorist activity.

As a result of a research the authors of the report found out that, Azerbaijani authorities are guided by both arbitrary constraints, and "lawful restrictions" which are often made secretly, and violate the country's international obligations. The legal proceedings are often held with violations, there were cases when the defendants were not notified of them. Officials often use ambiguous or statutory wording.

“The Religion Law – misleadingly called the Law on Freedom of Religion – has been amended 14 times between 1992, when it was first adopted, and the July 2011 changes. Every significant change has imposed tighter restrictions on freedom of religion or belief,” the report reads.

It is also noted that many of these amendments are problematic from the point of view of norms of OSCE and Venice Commission. They not only contradict the accepted international standards recognized by Azerbaijan, but themselves as well.
According to the report, children’s freedom of religion and education seen by authorities as a potential crime. The sale of any literature and other similar products is prohibited. The State Committee has compiled a list of banned religious literature which the Expertise Department – which is responsible for the list – has not made public, despite numerous requests. For sale of religious literature government permit is required. Religious literature is often confiscated at the entrance to Azerbaijan; there are also cases of withdrawal from those leaving the country.

Religious minorities though, especially those wanting to publish in Azeri, face difficulties especially when publishing literature in Azerbaijani. As a result Catholics receive lectionary by e-mail from outside Azerbaijan. Religious minorities also reported that in many regions copy making units refused to copy their literature, either because they are Muslims or because they are afraid of the police.

As result of the research it was also found out that Muslims are subject to specific extra restrictions which do not apply to other faiths. All mosques must belong to the Caucasian Muslim Board. Preventing the gathering of religious communities to worship, the Azerbaijani authorities close or destroy the mosques, mostly those of Sunnis’. In August 2008 a “temporary” ban on praying outside all mosques in the country was imposed, whose text has apparently never been made public.
Georgian Orthodox Church, which operates three of the four churches in recent years was obliged not to worship more than 30 minutes.
Selective denial of legal status also affects non-governmental organisations (NGOs) whose activity is linked to religion of belief in some way. On 12 March 2013, President Aliyev signed into law changes to the Religion Law’s Article 18 banning religious communities from offering or giving blessings or material benefits in exchange for donations, the report reads.

It also goes saying that the situation in the Nakhichevan exclave is worse than in the rest of the country. There is a de facto ban on people exercising freedom of religion or belief on religious minorities. According to Yafez Akramoglu of Radio Free Europe perhaps up to 50 mosques across Nakhichevan appear to have been forcibly closed by the state following the mid November 2014 arrests.

According to the report in Nakhichevan there are some extra formal restrictions on freedom of religion or belief have also been introduced. In Nakhichevan policy on freedom of religion or belief is enacted by the Department for Work with Religious Organisations. Head of Nakhichevan’s Department for Work with Religious Organisations Vuqar Babayev stated that all imams must wear a prescribed uniform. He said two sets of such a uniform and pairs of shoes had been issued to each state-appointed imam. No such uniform is required for imams in the rest of Azerbaijan.

Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:


People desperately looking for their relatives in Artsakh
People are desperately looking for each other in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) hit hard by a 24-hour Azerbaijani attack. They are calling the...
Protester announces mass hunger strike in Yerevan
Suren Petrosyan, the leader of Armenia's Democratic Consolidation Party, on Thursday announced a mass hunger strike near the Garegin Nzhdeh...
First suspects in death of Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh detained
First suspects in the death of Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) have been detained, Sputnik reported on Thursday, citing a...
MEPs call for EU sanctions on Azerbaijan
More than 60 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have sent a letter to High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security...
Artsakh says details of deal with Azerbaijan still need to be worked out
The leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) said on Thursday that it had agreed a ceasefire with Azerbaijan but that key details,...
Robert Kocharyan wishes 'fortitude' to Armenians on Independence Day
Armenia's second President Robert Kocharyan has wished “strength and fortitude” to the Armenian people on Independence Day....
Wreath laid at Yerablur on Serzh Sargsyan's behalf
A wreath has been laid at the Yerablur Military Pantheon in Yerevan on former Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s behalf on...
Aliyev apologized to Putin for peacekeeper deaths in Nagorno-Karabakh
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev apologized to Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed deep condolences over the tragic death of...
Azeri troops killed Artsakh civilian, says former state minister
Azerbaijani forces have killed a civilian in the Artsakh village of Haterk, Artsakh’s former State Minister Artak Beglaryan said on...
Talks between Artsakh, Azerbaijan end in Yevlakh
Negotiators from Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and Azerbaijan have completed talks in the town of Yevlakh. The Artsakh delegation accompanied...
Artsakh says 'concrete steps' underway to resolve situation after Azeri shooting
Artsakh says “concrete measures” are in place to resolve the situation following Azerbaijan’s fresh truce violation. The...
Azerbaijan violates new ceasefire in Artsakh
The Azerbaijani military has violated the new Russian-brokered ceasefire in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) which took effect at 1 p.m. local time on...
Parents of fallen soldiers spend night at Yerablur
Parents of Armenian soldiers killed in the 2020 Artsakh war spend the night at Yerevan’s Yerablur Military Pantheon to bar Armenian Prime...
Blinken: U.S. supports Armenia's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has sent best wishes to the people of Armenia on Independence Day marked on September 21, expressing the...
Iran resumes flights to Armenia
Iran has resumed flights to Armenia and Azerbaijan following a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), ISNA news agency reported on Wednesday,...
Snoop Dogg's Yerevan show postponed
American rapper Snoop Dogg’s concert in Yerevan has been postponed, Doping Space, the concert organizer, said in a statement on Thursday....
Iran's Raisi urges Armenia, Azerbaijan to solve their dispute through dialogue
The dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia is unacceptable and should be settled through dialogue, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told a news...
Artsakh delegation arrives in Yevlakh for talks with Azerbaijan
An Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) delegation escorted by Russian peacekeepers has arrived in the town of Yevlakh for talks with Azerbaijan....
'Mom, take me home', says young Artsakh girl
A photo of young Artsakh girl named Luse and her brief conversation with her mother, Lilit Sargsyan, have gone viral on social media....
MP says Azeri forces captured Artsakh civilians
Azerbaijani troops have captured civilians from the Artsakh village of Taghavard during their military aggression, Artsakh MP Metakse Hakobyan...
Putin-Pashinyan phone call in the works, Kremlin says
Moscow expects the timing of a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to be worked out...
Doping Space to release statement on Snoop Dogg's Yerevan show
The Doping Space company, that has organized the upcoming Yerevan concert of American rapper and actor Snoop Dogg, will release a statement on...
Putin hopes for 'peaceful' resolution in Nagorno-Karabakh
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he hoped for a "peaceful" resolution to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, AFP...
Artur Ghazinyan: Artsakh has fallen...
Former MP Artur Ghazinyan has reacted to the Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement between Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and Azerbaijan, claiming it...
Iran cancels all flights to Armenia and Azerbaijan
Iran canceled all flights to Azerbaijan and Armenia until further notice, IRNA reported on Wednesday, citing the head of the civil aviation...
Russian Defense Ministry announces full ceasefire deal for Nagorno-Karabakh
A full ceasefire agreement between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) has been reached through the mediation of Russian...
Pashinyan says Armenia did not help draft Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Wednesday that Yerevan did not take part in drafting a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement between...
Ruben Vardanyan: Close to 100 killed, hundreds injured in Azerbaijani shelling in Artsakh
Ruben Vardanyan, a former state minister of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), said on Wednesday that close to 100 people had been killed and hundreds...
Artsakh accepts Russia's ceasefire proposal, but Azeri shelling continues
Authorities in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) have accepted a ceasefire proposal made by the Russian peacekeeping contingent amid the continued...
Armenia opens criminal probe into facts of committing genocide by Azerbaijani leadership
Armenia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation into the facts of committing genocide in Nagorno-Karabakh...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}