27 May 2010, 16:00
PACE concerned with early marriages in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan faces serious problems with gender mainstreaming and women's rights protection. That was the key note of the press conference on 26 May given by PACE delegation participated in Council of Europe Conference of Minister members "Gender equality: bridging the gap between de jure and de facto equality" that was held on 24-25 May in Baku.
In Baku, the delegation met with representatives of government, parliament, civil society and opposition in Azerbaijan. "We had the opportunity to hear alternative views on the women's status and rights", head of the PACE sub-committee on trafficking, Luxembourg MP Lydie Err said.
Mrs.Err criticized the practice of early marriages, which make women legally vulnerable. "Such marriages are not officially registered. For this reason, upon future divorces, women cannot get estate and alimony", PACE representative said.
According to the head of Dilyara Alieva Society for the protection of Women's Rights Novella Jafaroglu, early marriages are really a serious problem, "Upon divorce, that is not uncommon in early marriages, a young woman remains without shelter and bread. In addition, children from early marriage are often born ill."
A women's right expert Gunay Hussein believes that the marriage of girls at an early age should be considered as a fact of domestic violence. In her view, the government should strictly prohibit early marriage.
In rural areas of northern and southern regions of the country, girls above the age of 12 are not allowed to attend schools and are preparing for marriage. In particular, in the southern areas 12-13 year old girls are often given to marriage, and for them their parents get bride-money in sum of 1500-2000 manat ($1800-2400).
Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent