Posted by: becketfund | February 9, 2009

Armenia: Two New Restrictive Religion Draft Laws

YEREVAN – Religious minorities have expressed alarm at proposed amendments to Armenia’s Religion Law and Criminal Code that began passage through the country’s parliament on 5 February, Forum 18 reported on February 9.  In particular, they are worried about proposed punishments of up to two years’ imprisonment for those outside the dominant Armenian Apostolic Church, which choose organize campaigns to spread their faith in public in addition to concern over a proposed five-fold increase in the number of members required to register a religious organization. “If we don’t react this Law will be adopted,” Rene Leonian, head of the Evangelical Church of Armenia, told Forum 18 from the capital Yerevan on February 9. “If it is adopted, it would create an intolerant atmosphere in the religious field.”

Members of several religious communities told Forum 18 that they had received no warning about the beginning of the parliamentary process concerning the two draft laws.

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