A report on Azerbaijan gained interest at the Senate of France. Illegal trips of French Senator and Members of Parliament were condemed

A report on 'Women Rights in the Eastern Partnership countries - Azerbaijan as an example' was presented first in Brussels and then on September 11, 2014 in the French Senate. The preparation of the report has been  funded by the NGO Council.The presentation ceremony was held under the chairmanship of the French Senator Mr. Aymeri de Montesquiou. The Chairperson of the NGO Council Mr. Azay Guliyev, the Chairperson of State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs Ms. Hidjran Huseynova, the Member of the Parliament Ms. Malahat Ibrahimqizi, the member of the NGO Council Ms. Rena Mirzazade, the Chairperson of the International League on the Protection of Women’s Rights in Belgium Ms. Annie Sougie, the member of the French Senate Ms. Helene Convay-Mouret, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Azerbaijan to France Mr. Elchin Amirbayov, the representatives of NGOs that deal with Women Rights in France, researchers and journalist were among the participants.French Senator Mr. Aymeri de Montesquiou welcomed the guests and gave a speech on all the steps taken in Azerbaijan in the field of Women Rights. He stated that he  visited Azerbaijan several times and witnessed  the attitude towards Women Rights. Mr. Aymeri de Montesquiou stressed the importance of educating females and raising awareness in this field and noted the achievements made in Azerbaijan in this respect.The Chairperson of the International League on the Protection of Women’s Rights in Belgium Ms. Annie Sougie spoke of the report preparing motives, saying that there were 2 of them. The first one is the fact, that the population of Azerbaijan is mainly Muslim and along with that the country is secular and has significant attitude towards Women Rights. Often Women Rights are being forgotten among topics like Economy, Human Rights and Democracy. Ms. Annie Sougie noted the impossibility of Human Rights and Democracy without consideration of gender equality. It is an important condition for the country to be modern and Azerbaijan could be brought as an example in this case.The Chairperson of the NGO Council Mr. Azay Guliyev gave a short speech on the work of  the NGO Council  to the participants. Fast growing economy, achievements made in the field of politics, culture etc. were mentioned as well. Mr. Azay Guliyev provided the participants with some  statistics about Azerbaijan, including the facts that 80% of GDP in the South Caucasus belongs to Azerbaijan, unemployment rate is 5.2% and poverty rate came down from 49% to 5.6% in Azerbaijan.Successful cooperation between Azerbaijan and France were mentioned during the Chairperson's speech. Reconstruction of Strasbourg Cathedral de Notre-Dame being funded by  Heydar Aliyev Foundation, contributions to the creation of the Department of Islamic culture at Louvre, Paris, establishment of French school in Baku were brought as examples.Mr. Azay Guliyev also spoke about Armenian-Azerbaijan Nagorno Karabakh conflict, noting that France is the Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group and plays an important role in the conflict resolution. He asked the French government to put more effort ensure  implementation of the  4 UN Security Council Resolutions.At the end of his speech, Mr. Azay Guliyev called the visits of more than 13 members of French National Assembly and Senate to Nagorno Karabakh illegal, adding that this deeply concerns Azerbaijan officials. The Chairman informed the participants that his colleague, the Vice president of the OSCE PA French Senator Mr. Alain Neri was added to a black list 3 days ago by the Azerbaijani officials due to his illegal visit to Nagorno Karabakh.One of the Authors of the Report a French Expert Ms. Patricia Lalonde talked about her visit to Gabala Support Center for women and mentioned the importance of creation such centers in other regions of the country. She also underlined the steps taken by the Azerbaijani government to prevent early marriages and violence towards women. She also spoke about Clean World NGO that organized several meetings with women in shelters. Ms. Patricia stressed on the important activity of this NGO, for example, the outreach activities they held on early and forced marriages in Lankaran.The Chairperson of State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs Ms. Hidjran Huseynova mentioned the Presidential Decrees of 1998 on the Empowerment of Women in Azerbaijan and of 2000 on the Implementation of Women Policies. These Decrees established a body for Women Rights Promoting and Defense. She added that joining the International Conventions and other Treaties also plays an important role in achieving gender balance in Azerbaijan.Ms. Hidjran Huseynova provided the participants with detailed information on the government programs in this field. Development Concept called 'Azerbaijan 2020:  The Vision of the Future", National Program on Azerbaijan Youth, Strategy on Combating Domestic Violence and other programs play significant role in achieving gender balance. The Member of the Parliament Ms. Malahat Ibrahimqizi gave a speech on deprivations of female refugees and IDPs and suggested to prepare a report on them in the future as well.The event ended with questions and answers session. The participants considered the continuation of this dialogue extremely important. 

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