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Diplomat expresses regret over US statement on freedom of religion in Algeria

7 January 2024 14:25 (UTC+04:00)
Diplomat expresses regret over US statement on freedom of religion in Algeria
Elnur Enveroglu
Elnur Enveroglu
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The Minister of Foreign Affairs and National Community Abroad, Ahmed Attaf, expressed his deep regret over the erroneous and inaccurate information about Algeria in the latest statement by the US Department of State on the freedom of religion.

According to Azernews, the Algerian Embassy in Azerbaijan has shared a post about this on its official X page.

Note that on November 30, 2022, in accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, as amended, the Secretary of State placed Algeria on the Special Watch List for having engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom.

Furthermore, on January 4, 2024, the United States added Azerbaijan to its Special Watchlist of countries that engage in or tolerate severe violations of religious freedom and require close monitoring, a classification that potentially opens the countries to sanctions from the U.S. government. Releasing his annual index of designations, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken kept all 12 countries that had been on the previous year's blacklist: Burma, China, Cuba, the DPRK, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

"In addition, I have designated Algeria, Azerbaijan, the Central African Republic, Comoros, and Vietnam as countries for engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom," Blinken said in a statement.

The U.S. religious freedom body USCIRF, in a statement, 'welcomed' the decision to put Azerbaijan on the watchlist. Last month, USCIRF released a new report that provides an update on religious freedom conditions in Azerbaijan, saying that although the country has in recent years ceased some problematic practices regarding state interference in its people’s practice of their religion or beliefs, the government has "shown little interest in reforming laws and policies that violate Azerbaijan’s international human rights commitments."

According to USCIRF claims, within the last three years, the government has twice amended its religion law to introduce new restrictions on a variety of religious activities.

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