USCIRF Releases Country Update on Azerbaijan

This report evaluates trends relevant to freedom of religion or belief in Azerbaijan since USCIRF commissioners and staff traveled to the country in early 2020.

Mar 18, 2021

USCIRF Releases Country Update on Azerbaijan

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released a country update on religious freedom conditions in Azerbaijan:

Azerbaijan Country Update: This report evaluates trends relevant to freedom of religion or belief in Azerbaijan since USCIRF commissioners and staff traveled to the country in early 2020. In recent years, Azerbaijan has implemented some changes that have marked an improvement in conditions for religious freedom, such as ending law enforcement raids on religious communities and reportedly pardoning many religious activists. However, religious freedom in Azerbaijan remains severely impeded by problematic legislation, particularly the country’s 2009 law “On Freedom of Religious Beliefs,” which the government has shown little interest in revising. This country update also details the many obstacles posed by mandatory registration and other restrictions on religious communities, the continued imprisonment of religious activists, and recent violations committed in the context of the renewed conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

In its 2020 Annual Report (also available in Azerbaijani and Russian), USCIRF recommended that the U.S. Department of State place Azerbaijan on its Special Watch List (SWL) for its ongoing and systematic religious freedom violations.

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The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at media@uscirf.gov or Danielle Ashbahian at dashbahian@uscirf.gov.