Ombudsperson jars Azerbaijan's inset into US State Dept. special watch list

Society Materials 9 January 2024 13:45 (UTC +04:00)
Ombudsperson jars Azerbaijan's inset into US State Dept. special watch list
Ingilab Mammadov
Ingilab Mammadov
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 9. The Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsperson) of Azerbaijan Sabina Aliyeva has made a statement on the special report published by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom on Azerbaijan in 2023 and the inclusion of Azerbaijan in a special watch list of the US State Department, Trend reports.

Aliyeva stated that members of many religions have traditionally lived in a peaceful and cordial environment in Azerbaijan. Multiculturalism and tolerance have lately been embraced as governmental policies, and the country has implemented a number of steps to promote interreligious dialogue. Moreover, Article 25 of Azerbaijan's Constitution prohibits restrictions on human and civil rights and freedoms based on race, religion, language, sex, origin, creed, ethnic, political, or social association.

"It is no surprise that Azerbaijan is one of the world's most religiously tolerant countries, with an exceptional model of multiculturalism and interreligious dialogue and no incidences of antisemitism or other religious prejudice. Along with mosques, Catholic and Orthodox churches, including an Armenian church, and Jewish synagogues operate in our country as places of worship for believers," she said.

"Clear signs of this fact include the establishment of conditions for people to freely hold their religious views, the high degree of protection of the right to freedom of conscience, and the virtually perfect absence of complaints to the Ombudsman on this matter," the ombudsman continued.

"In this regard, in the annual report on the state of religious freedoms in the countries of the world, prepared by the US Department of State, we consider it biased to mention Azerbaijan among the countries violating religious freedom," she added.

Once again, we state that the information contained in this report about our country has no basis; we consider it important to conduct a responsible, realistic, and fact-based analysis, not allowing double standards in preparing such documents," Alieyeva said.

The Ombudsman also added that despite what was mentioned in the report, for many years Azerbaijan suffered from the policy of occupation, ethnic cleansing of Armenia, and mass destruction of religious-historical monuments belonging to our people. We would like to remind once again those who compiled this report that numerous cemeteries belonging to Azerbaijanis have been destroyed and desecrated, including mosques and places of worship, as well as the falsification of religious monuments, on lands that have been under occupation for almost 30 years, including now in the territory of Armenia.

"These facts give grounds to say that behind the report prepared by the US State Department, there is a biased policy aimed at creating a prejudiced opinion about Azerbaijan in the world community," said the ombudsman.

Azerbaijani ombudsman constantly draws attention to ensuring equal rights for all, regardless of religion, language, race, and other grounds. At the same time, Azerbaijan builds its policy based on the principle "No one should be left behind" reflected in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the concept of uniting efforts of all for the sake of further strengthening the existing stability, multicultural and tolerant environment in the country, and friendly and brotherhood relations between local peoples.

"As the Ombudsman of Azerbaijan, I would like to emphasize once again that the publication of such groundless and biased reports and statements by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom is unacceptable," said the statement.

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