The Council of Europe's Venice Commission has accepted Baku's explanation in connection with the law "On freedom of religion".
"On the initiative of some MPs, the Venice Commission has concluded that the law "On freedom of religion" in Azerbaijan falls short of the European standards, restricts religious activity and creates some problems for the religious communities. Of course, the Azerbaijani authorities have immediately responded to this conclusion," Head of Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Social and Political Department Ali Hasanov told Trend today.
First, we examined the document, which serves as basis for Venice Commission's conclusion and figured out that it was an unofficially translated bill, Hasanov said.
Earlier, in its conclusion on the law "On freedom of religion" in Azerbaijan, the Venice Commission said that the law with amendments made in 2011, contains a number of restrictive provisions.
"Issues, such as the rights and the beneficiaries of the right to freedom of religion, registration, autonomy and elimination of religious communities, the problem with proselytism (attracting others to their faith), publishing and distributing the religious materials could have been defined more thoroughly. Moreover, the law is being characterized by unclear terminology which may lead to free interpretation and application," the Venice Commission's conclusion said.
Ali Hasanov said that some terms and mistakes made while translating the bill have created such an opinion among the members of the Venice Commission that this bill does not meet the European standards.
"Of course, the presidential administration immediately reacted to this by sending them an official translation of the bill, which covers all the articles, their description and the exact mechanisms of their application," he said. "The Venice Commission has already accepted the Azerbaijani authorities' explanation. I think that the Venice Commission now believes that the law "On freedom of religion", adopted in Azerbaijan, fully meets the European standards."
"Azerbaijan is ready to give relevant explanations to the Venice Commission and the other institutions of the Council of Europe if any differences occur in the future," Hasanov noted.