Azerbaijani NGOs express protest against US State Department’s annual report on religious freedom
A group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Azerbaijan have issued a statement in protest with regard to the annual report of the US Department of State on International Religious Freedom, News.Az reports.
An article about Azerbaijan in the report on International Religious Freedom for 2022 was recently published on the official website of the US Department of State.
"The report refers to Azerbaijan's allegedly "negligent" attitude to the protection of religious and cultural sites, and in particular in the territories recently liberated from the Armenian occupation. And this is not true. Throughout history, our country has faced injustice. Having suffered from the Armenian occupation of our territories for 30 years, now we are facing such a biased attitude. It is a pity that it comes from the US Department of State," the statement reads.
The statement notes that the signing by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on June 16, 2021 of the law "On Freedom of Religion" once again shows that special importance is attached to this issue in the country.
Russian and Georgian Orthodox Churches, Armenian Apostolic Church, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Russian Molokans Church, Roman Catholic Church, Churches of Evangelists, Baptists and Jehovah's Witnesses, synagogues, Baha'i temples and other religious houses once again prove this multiculturalism in Azerbaijan and the presence of multi-confessional communities.
The statement also underlines that during the occupation of Azerbaijani lands, Armenia destroyed hundreds of monuments, mosques, and shrines there. At the same time, cemeteries were desecrated or completely destroyed, and the lands were turned into minefields.
According to the statement, Azerbaijan, in turn, strives to preserve any religious or cultural heritage. For it, the country has built a tolerant, multicultural society, and is proud of it.
In addition, the authors of the statement demand, appealing to international organizations, to ensure that Armenia is held accountable for the destruction, including of religious monuments on the territory of Azerbaijan.