Ombudsman comments regarding US report on Azerbaijan

Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan Sabina Aliyeva

© APA | Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan Sabina Aliyeva

# 09 January 2024 11:17 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan’s Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) Sabina Aliyeva has commented on the US State Department Report on International Religious Freedom, APA reports.

“Historically, individuals of various religious backgrounds coexist in Azerbaijan in an atmosphere of peace and friendship. In recent years, multiculturalism and tolerance are commenced to be carried out at the level of state policy and a number of measures have been taken to promote interreligious dialogue in our country.

According to Article 25 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan, restrictions of human and citizen’s rights and freedoms on the ground of race, ethnicity, religion, language, sex, origin, beliefs, or political or social affiliation are prohibited.

It is not surprising that, from a religious perspective, Azerbaijan is one of the most tolerant countries in the world, and where, an exemplary model of multiculturalism and inter-religious dialogue has been established and cases of antisemitism and religious discrimination do not exist.

The opportunity created for people to practice their faiths freely, ensuring the right to consciousness at the highest level, as well as almost the absence or rarity of relevant complaints addressed to the Ombudsman during its active years, is a clear indicator of this fact.

In this regard, we find it biased that Azerbaijan is mentioned in the US State Department Report on International Religious Freedoms in the world among countries where religious beliefs are violated,” Sabina Aliyeva noted.

“We once again declare that the information provided in the report about our country has no any ground and therefore, we consider it necessary to conduct responsible, realistic, and fact-based analyses without double standards when preparing such documents.

Furthermore, in contrast to the information provided in the report, we would like to bring to the attention of those who prepared this document that Azerbaijan, many years, has suffered from occupation and policy of ethnic cleansing of Armenia. For nearly 30 years, in the liberated territories, and on the territory of present-day Armenia, religious and historical monuments, including mosques and places of worship, belonging to our people have been massively destroyed, Azerbaijani cemeteries have been desecrated and dispersed.

The facts presented shows that behind the US State Department Report is based on a biased policy aimed at creating the unfavourable attitude towards our country in the global community.

The Ombudsman Institution of Azerbaijan has always focus on the provision of equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of their religion, language, ethnicity, or other grounds. We also build our activities in line with the principle of "leaving no one behind" stipulated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and through a concept that encourages the collaboration of everyone's efforts for more strengthening of stability, multicultural and tolerant environment, and fostering friendship and brotherhood among local communities in the country.

As the Ombudsman of Azerbaijan, I would like to reiterate that the publication of such unfounded and biased reports and statements by the U.S. International Commission on Religious Freedom is unacceptable,” the Azerbaijani Ombudsman emphasized.

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