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02/16/2022 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) – Last week, Nadine Maenza, Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), condemned the announcement from Azerbaijan of their plans to remove markings of Armenian heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh).

In a tweet from USCIRF’s Twitter account, Chair Maenza commented on USCIRF’s concern regarding Azerbaijan’s new plans. “We are deeply concerned by Azerbaijan’s plans to remove Armenian Apostolic inscriptions from churches,” said Maenza. “We urge the government to preserve and protect places of worship and other religious and cultural sites.”

This new campaign from the Azerbaijani government is a formalization of a series of desecrations that are ongoing against the cultural heritage of Artsakh. Several churches and religious symbols throughout Artsakh have already been destroyed, eliminating the rich history of Christianity in the land.

Azerbaijan’s new campaign also goes directly against a declaration from the International Court of Justice calling on Azerbaijan to “take all necessary measures to prevent and punish acts of vandalism and desecration.”

Many human rights organizations and activists watching the ongoing situation in Artsakh and the aggressions of Azerbaijan and Turkey against Armenian Christians hope that USCIRF will continue to condemn these egregious violations of religious freedom.

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