Mr. Antonius Broek's remarks at the National Conference on preventing gender-based violence and early marriages

Dear Ms Hijran Huseynova, Dear Ms Pramilla Patten, Dear Mr. Derek Hogan, Dear Guests, Dear Media Friends.

On behalf of the UN in Azerbaijan, I would like to thank Ms Hijran Huseynova, the Chairperson of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Affairs, for taking the lead in observing this campaign and setting yet another good tradition that aims to bring more attention to and intensify actions against the different forms of violence and discrimination faced by women in Azerbaijan.

I would also like to thank Ms Pramilla Patten, Vice-President of the UN CEDAW Committee, who will be conducting the CEDAW mock session for the Government on 26-27 November, at the invitation from the State Committee and UNFPA.

As you all are aware, violence against women is a grave violation of human rights, which not only affects the individual women concerned, but also seriously harms the families, communities as well as entire societies.

This global pandemic knows no racial, ethnic, religious, political, educational or any other borders.

Violence against women also makes no distinction as to the age of the women and can threaten them at any point during their lifetime, ranging from the practices of gender-biased sex selection to inadequate access to education, limited job opportunities, child marriages, trafficking, honor killings, domestic violence, rape as well as abuse of the elderly.

While a series of efforts aimed at providing improved protection to the women all over the world are persistently carried out, we still come across the sad statistical accounts stating that one woman dies every week from the instances of domestic violence, one woman dies every day in child birth, one in three girls in the developing world are married by their 18th birthday.

It is commendable that the Government of Azerbaijan is determined to ensure that women enjoy full protection from all forms of violence.

In this regard, it is particularly worthwhile to mention a number of important projects implemented by the State Committee, in close partnership with UNFPA, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, and other partners, to prevent domestic violence, promotion of empowerment strategies for the rural women, advocacy for improved services for the refugee and IDP women, prevention of harmful practices of early marriages, etc.

Nevertheless, we should also acknowledge that there are gaps that need to be bridged to ensure that women in Azerbaijan are free from violence and discrimination.

This requires more coordinated efforts and concrete actions of all concerned government bodies, civil society organizations, and other national stakeholders, and this with support from UN organizations and other development partners.

The UN in Azerbaijan is pleased to explore new ideas to further strengthen its partnership with the Government and people of Azerbaijan aimed at elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls in the country.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to renew our commitment to combat all forms of violence and discrimination against women by recalling the appeal of the UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon to end the vicious cycle of violence against women all over the world:

“Let’s break the silence. When you witness violence against women and girls, do not sit back. Act!”

Together we can end violence against women and girls and the United Nations in Azerbaijan stands ready to support the Government to act jointly with all partners to be preventers of this pandemic and to take action NOW.

Thank you very much for your attention!

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