Ahmad Shahidov: “We see a decline in tolerance, existed for many years in Azerbaijan”

sehertvChief of Azerbaijan Institute for Democracy and Human Rights Ahmad Shahidov gave interview to “Sahar 1″ Television of Iran

On June 14, chief of AIDHR Ahmad Shahidov was guest of “Free Arena” program in “Sahar 1″ Television and spoke about religious freedom and tolerance in the country, protection of the rights of arrested believers.

Chief of AIDHR said that despite various religious confessions exist in Azerbaijan, Islam was a dominant all the time. Over 95 percent of the population are Muslims. As for the internal sects of Islam, many Azerbaijanis (approximately 65 percent) are Shiites. According to Article 48 of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, every person has the right to freedom of conscience. 1-3 paragraphs of Article 18 of the Constitution clearly states that the state is separated from religion, all religions are equal before the law, propaganda of religions humiliating the human personality, which is contrary to the principles of humanity is prohibited in Azerbaijan Republic.

Speaking about the current state of religious freedom in Azerbaijan Ahmad Shahidov said that many religious comunities and NGO`s such as DEVAMM dealing with the freedom of religion are not registered, some mosques are closed, many believers have been arrested on various charges, particularly muslim and protestant christian groups relating to non-traditional movements are followed, ban on wearing head cover, censorship of religious literature, alternative military service is still not implemented and other steps taken by the government does not meet the country’s commitments to international organizations.

AIDHR worries about arrests of dozens believers who agitated in the field of religious freedom in Azerbaijan, torturing them in prison, said Ahmad Shahidov.

Noted another issue in the field of freedom of religion, chief of AIDHR spoke about reduction of atmosphere of tolerance observed for many years in Azerbaijan. According to him, there are regular clashes between the different sects who worship Islam and this trend is still in the form of debates in social networks. In background of last events in the world, resentment among religious sects is rising, so it can lead to the failure of values of religious tolerance existed for many years and violation of human rights in Azerbaijan.

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