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It's time to save persecuted Christian Armenians in Azerbaijan

A man prays in Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shusha, Azerbaijan after it was partly destroyed by shelling in October 2020.
A man prays in Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shusha, Azerbaijan after it was partly destroyed by shelling in October 2020. | Christian Solidarity International

The time to save the persecuted Christian Armenians is now. The recent release of USCIRF's annual report once again highlights the most severe violators of this fundamental human right. We especially applaud the Commission's bold stance in recommending that Azerbaijan be designated as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) by the United States.

Religious freedom is an indispensable right for all individuals, regardless of their faith or location. Unfortunately, in many regions, this right is consistently under threat, with millions enduring persecution, discrimination, and violence simply for practicing their religious beliefs.

USCIRF's annual report plays a crucial role in holding nations accountable for their actions and advocating for the rights of the oppressed. By spotlighting the worst offenders, it offers a roadmap for meaningful action in defense of religious freedom. Azerbaijan is a pertinent case that demands attention.

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The Azerbaijan government's treatment of Armenian Christians has been described as ethnic cleansingforced displacements, expulsions, and massacres. USCIRF's recommendation to designate Azerbaijan as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) is commendable.

In recent events, Azerbaijan imposed a blockade on the 120,000 Armenian Christians residing in Nagorno-Karabakh, depriving them of essential resources and ultimately leading to an ethnic cleansing campaign. Following the takeover, the Azerbaijani forces embarked on a systematic campaign to erase Armenian history and Christian religious presence by destroying cemeterieschurches, and other sacred sites.

Azerbaijan's human rights violations in Nagorno-Karabakh, including the desecration of religious sites, indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas, and reported atrocities by Azerbaijani forces, are well-documented. The government has blatantly disregarded its international obligations to protect religious freedom, choosing instead to oppress religious minorities and suppress the diversity it claims to embrace.

The recommendation to designate Azerbaijan as a Country of Particular Concern sends a resolute message that the United States will not tolerate religious persecution. The State Department should heed USCIRF's call and implement concrete actions and diplomatic measures to halt the cultural and religious eradication in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan must allow the return of Armenians who were forcibly removed from the region and permit them to live peacefully in their ancient homeland. We urge the international community to unite in condemning Azerbaijan's actions and standing in solidarity with Armenian Christians.

As an elected Member of Congress and a pastor in the United States, we firmly stand behind the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its vital mission to safeguard religious freedom globally.

We commend USCIRF for its unwavering commitment to promoting religious freedom worldwide. Its annual report serves as a wake-up call to governments that infringe on this fundamental right and offers hope to those seeking freedom of conscience. The fight for religious freedom must continue, both at home and abroad, to protect this critical right from those who seek to undermine it.

Congressman Bob Good has represented Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District in the 118th United States Congress since January 2021. He has served as the Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus since January 2024, and has been named to the Budget Committee and the Education and the Workforce Committee where he is Chairman of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee. Bob is committed to effectively representing the people of Virginia's Fifth Congressional District and advocating for the foundational principles that have and will continue to make America the greatest nation in history.

Dr. Jim Garlow is the Founder and CEO of Well Versed, a ministry to Members of Congress, Ambassadors at the United Nations in New York City, and other elected officials, bringing Biblical principles of governance to government leaders. He served on President Trump’s Faith Advisory team for four years, and has met in small delegations with 10 presidents and prime ministers (and one king) from around the world.Garlow is an author, communicator, commentator, historian, cultural observer and has served most of his adult life as a pastor. Garlow is heard daily on nearly 800 radio outlets nationwide in his one-minute commentary called “The Garlow Perspective,” and has appeared on numerous national TV shows on NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CNBC and Comedy Central.

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