NAGORNO-KARABAKH: "THE LAW IS LIKE RUBBER"
President Bako Sahakyan of the internationally unrecognised entity of Nagorno-Karabakh is considering a restrictive new Religion Law, Forum 18 News Service has found. The new Law imposes vaguely formulated restrictions, including: an apparent ban on unregistered religious activity; state censorship of religious literature; an undefined "monopoly" given to the Armenian Apostolic Church over preaching and spreading its faith, while banning "soul-hunting" and restricting others to undefined "rallying their own faithful". Garik Grigoryan, head of the parliamentary Commission on State Legal Issues, claimed to Forum 18 that "it will be a more liberal, democratic Law."
Members of religious communities have expressed serious concerns to Forum 18. One member of the Armenian Apostolic Church rhetorically asked Forum 18: "Where's the freedom?"Another described the Law as "like rubber," noting that "you can't see exactly how it's going to be put into practice." The Law also does not resolve the issue of a civilian alternative to compulsory military service.