US State Department publishes 2016 report on religious freedom in Armenia
YEREVAN, AUGUST 17, ARMENPRESS. The US Department of State has published the 2016 report on religious freedom in Armenia, reports Armenpress.
The report says Armenia’s Constitution grants everyone the rights of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
“The Constitution stipulates the separation of religious organizations and the state. It recognizes the Armenian Apostolic Church as the national church and preserver of national identity. Christian minority religious groups had the freedom to worship”, the reports says.
According to the report, approximately 92 percent of the 3.1 million population identifies with the Armenian Apostolic Church. Other religious groups, none supported by more than 1 percent of the population, include Roman Catholics, Armenian Uniate (Mekhitarist) Catholics, Orthodox Christians, evangelical Christians, Pentecostals, Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists, charismatic Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, pagans, Molokan Christians, Yezidis, Jews, Shia Muslims, and Sunni Muslims.
“Yezidis are concentrated primarily in agricultural areas northwest of Yerevan around Mount Aragats, and Armenian Uniate Catholics live primarily in the north. Most Jews, Mormons, and Orthodox Christians reside in Yerevan, along with a small community of Muslims, most of whom are Shia, including Iranians and temporary residents from the Middle East”, the report says.
It is stated that under the Constitution everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. This right includes the freedom to change one’s religion or beliefs. “The Constitution allows restrictions on this right only in order to protect state security, public order, health and morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others. The Constitution prohibits the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms for the purpose of inciting religious hatred. It allows conscientious objectors to military service to perform alternative civilian service”, the report states.