Posted by: becketfund | January 5, 2009

NAGORNO-KARABAKH: President Signs Repressive new Religion Law

STEPANAKERT – Bako Sahakyan, the President of the internationally unrecognized region, has signed a repressive new Religion Law, Forum 18 reported on January 5. The Law will come into force ten days after its official publication, which is expected to be after the Christmas holidays. No officials were available to discuss the new law, because of public holidays for Christmas, which the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates on January 6. Civil society activist Albert Voskanyan told Forum 18 “All this reflects the intention of the authorities to introduce harsh control on the activities of religious minorities and to strengthen the exclusive role of the Armenian Apostolic Church already proclaimed in Nagorno-Karabakh’s Constitution.” The new law is purported to ban unregistered religious activity, place highly restrictive requirements to gain legal recognition, enforce state censorship of religious literature and provide an undefined “monopoly” to the Armenian Apostolic Church over preaching and spreading its faith while restricting other faiths to similarly undefined “rallying their own faithful”.

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