H. Kharatian: There Is No Religious Intolerance In Armenia

H. KHARATIAN: THERE IS NO RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE IN ARMENIA

Noyan Tapan
Jan 29, 2008

YEREVAN, JANUARY 29, NOYAN TAPAN. According to Armenia’s Constitution,
religious institutions are separate from the state, and therefore,
the state does not interefere in the issues of citizens’ belief. The
state’s task is to give a legal status to this or that religious
organization and to follow that they act within the law. As Hranush
Kharatian, an ethnographer, the Head of the RA government’s Department
on Issues of Religion and National Minorities, said at the January
28 meeting on the subject "Religious Intolerance and Discrimination",
"the state does not directly actively deal with religion and religious
organizations." "A number of laws were adopted earlier, which regulate
that sphere and lack elements containing discrimination. Therefore,
I can surely say that there is no religious intolerance as such in
Armenia," H. Kharatian is convinced. Nevertheless, Mrs Kharatian stated
that though there is no religious discrimination and intolerance
in Armenia, a great part of country’s population has an internal
contradiction to some religious organizations, which is moderate, and
no extraordinary incident has been registered in that respect so far.

Mrs Kharatian also said that the state has returned the buildings and
constructions belonging to some religious organizations, which were
taken away from them in the Soviet years. They are the churches and
constructions belonging to Assyrian, Greek, and Russian religious
communities.

Hranush Kharatian touched upon the report published by the Amnesty
International organization lately, which mentioned that there is
religious intolerance and discrimination in Armenia. Mrs Kharatian
said that they have already expressed their position in connection
with that report at the respective international instances. According
to her, that is a one-sided work not corresponding to reality, as it
has been prepared on the basis of the facts introduced by only one,
Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization, which do not correspond to
reality. When preparing the report that organization has not applied
to any state structure to use the data they have.

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