An illustrator's rendition of domestic violence

Source: Meydan TV

Caption: An illustrator's rendition of domestic violence

Friday wrap-up: Domestic violence, coronavirus restrictions and channel closures

The week of 24-28 May saw a report on domestic violence in Azerbaijan, television channels' suspension from broadcasting and extended modified quarantine rules.

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee: Growing domestic violence endangers women’s lives in Azerbaijan

A recent report published by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) with the support of Azerbaijan’s leading activists urges the Azerbaijani authorities to take rapid steps to fulfill its international obligations on domestic violence. The report exposed “serious gaps in the authorities’ response to domestic violence, including inadequate enforcement of existing legislation, and a failure to hold abusers accountable and ensure access to justice for survivors”.

According to Azerbaijan’s State Statistical Committee, at least 1,180 cases of domestic violence against women were reported in 2020, but Azerbaijani activists claim that the real number is much higher, “as social stigma, family rejection, economic dependence on abusers, and lack of awareness prevent women from reporting abuse and getting help. State policies aimed at keeping the family 'intact' make it more difficult for women to escape violence”.

Meydan TV spoke to lawyer Vafa Rustam on the topic. According to Rustam, the law on domestic violence in Azerbaijan came into force 11 years ago but has made little progress in practice since then. On the positive side, the number of female judges, lawyers and MPs has increased in the country, as well as the number of women demanding their rights. However, she added that the government fails in providing enough safe spaces in shelters where domestic violence survivors can seek refuge. Furthermore, it is of upmost importance that a gender-sensitive approach is introduced to internal law in Azerbaijan.

These concerns are shared by activist Gulnara Mehdiyeva, who Meydan TV also interviewed. She says that, in theory, Azerbaijan's legal system ensures the protection of women in Azerbaijan, but it is not implemented in daily life practices. She also adds that women in Azerbaijan have little trust in the judicial system and complaint procedures. If the domestic violence survivor's health is not “seriously” damaged, little compensation and the guilt of making a complaint are the only results - which often reduces the motivation to complain in the community.

The State Statistics Committee reports that in 2020, 1,180 cases of domestic violence against women were registered, but Mehdiyeva thinks the real number is much higher as survivors shy away from revealing abuse.

Azerbaijan once again Europe's "most homophobic country"

This week we published a video which portrays the LGBTI+ community´s current situation in Azerbaijan.

This year's Rainbow Index puts Azerbaijan once again in last place, followed by Turkey, Armenia and Russia. The Rainbow Map and Index has been surveying the LGBTI+ community in 49 European countries since 2009.

"Lider TV" TV channel to close

This week, the National Television and Radio Council decided to suspend the channel Lider TV from broadcasting, effective from 1 June.

The decision was made at a meeting of the National Television and Radio Council on 24 May.

According to the National Television and Radio Council, the court's decision was related to the bankruptcy of Lider TV and Radio-Azerbaijan LLC.

"Lider TV and Radio Azerbaijan" started broadcasting in September 2000. On 16 June last year, it was declared bankrupt by the Commercial Court.

New quarantine rules in Azerbaijan

From this week on new quarantine regulations apply in Azerbaijan, according to the new regulations.

The special quarantine regime in Azerbaijan has been extended until 1 August, as per a decree signed by Prime Minister Ali Asadov.

Passenger traffic within Azerbaijan will resume on 1 June.

The unpopular regulation for wearing masks in open spaces in Azerbaijan will be abolished, and subway and inter-district public transport will be restored.

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