John Heffern suggests Armenia put aside traditions in issues of freedom of conscious to a certain extent
Armenia should put aside traditions in issues of freedom of conscious and rights of religious organizations to a certain extent. The US Ambassador to Armenia - John Heffern - expressed this opinion at the international conference “Models of Church - State Relations. Modern Trends” held on May 10 in the Business Center of the American University of Armenia. As reports "Armenpress" John Heffern stated: “Armenia is a country rich in traditions. Maintaining those traditions is important but it is also important that representatives of all groups of society have a vision of the future which will bring to freedom of religion, conscience and thought.”
The president of the center “Cooperation for Democracy” Stepan Danielyan said he observed discrepancies between the RA Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations, and the Constitution. He noted that in 2005 amendments were introduced in the Armenian Constitution while the law was adopted back in the Soviet period. “The Constitution says that the freedom of religion applies to all, regardless of citizenship, but what the law says that it applies only to the Armenian citizens,” – he said.
He noted that the objective of the conference is to discuss the models of the church-state relationship and the modern developments informing that famous scholars from the USA and Russia were invited. Due to Danielyan, the state has not yet worked out relevant policies in these matters. “It’s time that we take this issue serious, and this conference is aimed at that,” he said.