I’m pleased to join you today for the important event that marks the beginning of yet another promising cooperation relationship between the Government of Azerbaijan, UNFPA and USAID.
My special thanks go to Ms. Hijran Huseynova for her dedicated efforts to ensure that the cases of gender based violence and discrimination don’t cast a shadow on those positive developments that have been taking place in Azerbaijan within the last decades of independence.
Violence against women is a grave violation of human rights. Almost on a daily basis do we hear of a case of a woman who has been killed or raped or abused either physically or psychologically by a close family member or someone else who she used to trust.
The findings of the first nationally representative survey held by UNFPA and the SCFWCA in 2008 revealed that almost a quarter (24 %) of respondents had suffered from violence since 15 years of age, and that women were more likely to suffer violence from an intimate partner or close family member.
15 % of respondents had suffered from physical violence with significant regional variation, with the highest incidence in Absheron (29 %) and Lankaran (19 %).
IDP and refugee women that had to flee their homes as a consequence of the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region registered higher prevalence rate of intimate partner violence (26 %), compared to respondents never subjected to forced displacement.
I’m glad to observe that the Government is striving towards ensuring effective protection and redress to survivors of GBV in Azerbaijan.
And I want to reiterate that we, as UNCT Azerbaijan, are standing by your side for accomplishing this important and challenging mission.
To do this in the most effective and efficient way it is strongly recommended to use the newly adopted SDGs as a reference framework.
The SDGs dictate us that the initiatives to address violence against women and girls are to be considered holistically.
The strategic interventions to be undertaken should be coordinated between and among all concerned agencies including health, law enforcement, social support, etc.
It is also crucial that the attitudes that perpetrate violence on both individual and institutional level are effectively addressed.
All of these initiatives should be accompanied by the acknowledgement of gender based violence as a public health issue given that the direct health impact of the phenomena includes injuries, death, unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, depression as well as chronic diseases.
Last but not least, a well-functioning system of monitoring and evaluation is to be put in place to systematically assess the situation and identify the gaps that remain.
As you know, the UNCT has already started negotiations with the Government of Azerbaijan regarding the implementation of SDGs and we are very pleased to see that Ms. Huseynova is a member of a recently established National Coordination Council on Sustainable Development.
I believe these developments open new prospects for more intensive interaction and coordination between our agencies to jointly implement the programmes directed at complete elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls in the country.
I would like to wish you every success with this important project!