In accordance with the mandate, the Special Rapporteur will prepare a report which will contain conclusions and recommendations concerning the right to freedom of religion or belief Azerbaijan. The report will be officially submitted to the Government of Azerbaijan.
On March 4, 2006 the Special Rapporteur held a press-conference for representatives of the local media in the UN Office in Baku. At the press-conference the Special Rapporteur made a press statement related to her preliminary assessment of the situation with the right to freedom of religion and belief in Azerbaijan. Mr. Jahangir noted in her statement "an undisputable degree of tolerance of the society in general which certainly constitutes an essential ingredient of the freedom of religion or belief in a society". She stated that "the Government generally respects freedom of religion or belief but this respect is not uniformly observed in all regions of Azerbaijan I have indeed noticed that, in some cases, the concerned authorities may have blurred the thin line that distinguishes facilitation of religious freedoms from control. In particular, certain situations related to the different aspects of this control have resulted in actual limitations of the right to freedom of religion of religious communities: difficulties in registration, restriction on religious literature, methods of appointment of clergy or obstacles for non registered religious communities."
Despite the concerns the Special Rapporteur expressed, she was convinced that "Azerbaijan can play a leading role in building a model of its own because it has the most valuable raw material available to achieve this purpose: the good will and accommodating nature of its people towards spiritual beliefs."
Therefore, she said her main conclusion about the visit was that "this has been a visit that has given me more hopes than worries".
For more information contact:
Mr. Teymur Melikaslanov
National Programme Officer
Human Rights Project in Azerbaijan
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Tel: 498 98 88 (ext. 143)
© United Nations Azerbaijan 2006