Stalled Progress in 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. 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.