LONDON — On July 21, Dr. Christina Maranci lectured at the 8th Summer School on Human Rights of the Conference of European Churches on the topic of, “Ensuring Security of Places of Worship.” In her forensic presentation, Maranci drew the attention of the participants to the Religious Communities precarious situation of the Armenian spiritual and cultural heritage of Artsakh, under Azerbaijani occupation, and the challenges that threaten the very existence of this cultural heritage. She noted how the Azeri Albanification of Armenian churches and monasteries on social media is a perversion, not only of the historical record, but also does violence to the basic tenets of the Christian faith.
At the end of the presentation there was a question-and-answer period. Participants asked about the legal status of the Armenian Churches in Artsakh, and any future plans to ensure the faithful are able to access sacred shrines. There were also presentations from the Church of Cyprus, the Church of England and the National Point Contact of Hate Crimes of the Holy See (the Vatican).
Through a series of Webinars July 20-23, the Summer School aims to raise awareness on the fundamental right to Freedom of Religion or Belief, and any security-related challenges that might be faced as a consequence of this. It will explore how to enhance skills and expertise when reporting hate crime within the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Safer and Stronger Communities in Europe (SASCE) mechanisms. This year’s Summer School is held in cooperation with the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), with its program being prepared by the CEC Thematic Group on Human Rights, in line with the SASCE (a CEC project funded by the European Commission).