The memorial complex in the village of Talish in 2017 (credit: Ashot Minasyan) and as it appeared after vandalism and destruction under Azerbaijani control in December 2020 (credit: Kirill Krivosheev for EVN Report)

YEREVAN (Armenpress) — The US State Department has released the International Religious Freedom Report 2022 of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Azerbaijan was included in the list of countries under special control.

According to the report, the state of religious freedom in Azerbaijan eroded in 2022.

The report mentions the destruction of Armenian spiritual heritage by Azerbaijan in the territories of Nagorno-Karabakh that passed under the control of Baku.

“International structures and other organizations continue to question the willingness of the government of Azerbaijan to protect and preserve the religious and cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding territories under Azerbaijani control. In February, the former Minister of Culture Anar Karimov announced the creation of a working group, the purpose of which was to remove Armenian Apostolic inscriptions from churches, which he called “unreal”. With most probability, the government abandoned the plan after the international community’s outrage, and in March the European Parliament condemned Azerbaijan’s continuous policy of erasing and denying the Armenian cultural heritage in and around Nagorno-Karabakh,” the document says.

USCIRF recommends that the US government “provide funding to the US Agency for International Development and the US Embassy in Baku for the restoration, preservation, and protection of places of worship and other religious or cultural sites in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas.”


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