BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – The conference marking the launch of “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence” campaign to advocate to end of violence against women and girls was held by the State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization of Migration (IOM), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), US Department of State (INL) and European Union Delegation in Azerbaijan.
The conference brought together representatives of government agencies, diplomatic corps, civil society and media representatives.
Welcoming the participants, the Chairperson of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs highlighted the importance of the campaign to promote the empowerment and to bring real and significant changes in the lives of women and girls in the country.
Addressing the event, Ghulam Isaczai, Resident Coordinator UN in Azerbaijan, emphasized the role of cooperation among state bodies and international development agencies to address violence against women. “It is very rewarding to see that the campaign that was initiated several years ago with few organizations only has grown into major national level observations bringing together more and more actors every year. The more agencies we have on board the more extensive the scope of our outreach is and thus, the louder the message we aim to spread across the country” said Mr. Isaczai.
In his remarks at the conference, the US Ambassador in Azerbaijan, H.E. Robert Cekuta stressed that no progress is possible if half of the population is denied their full rights to education and employment and a life free from fear. “Investing in the education of girls and women is one of the most effective ways to fight against discrimination and to empower women. Only when we take specific steps to protect the rights of women can we hope to obtain gender equality in our society.” noted Ambassador Cekuta.
The EU has been a fully committed partner in the global action to end gender based violence, and EU institutions have a tradition of joining the 16 Days of Activism Campaign told Malena Mard, head of the EU delegation to Azerbaijan. “We believe that women’s empowerment is of key importance for sustainable development and that cannot be achieved without eliminating a repeat of violence against women and girls.” she said during the conference.
During the conference the winner of the “Best audio script for social-media” contest supported by the State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, ASAN Radio and UNFPA have been announced and awarded. At the end of the conference a group of kids voiced their messages against violence in society through thought-provoking dance performance.