AZERBAIJAN: Children's Rights in the UN Special Procedures Reports

Summary: This report extracts mentions of children's rights issues in the reports of the UN Special Procedures. This does not include reports of child specific Special Procedures, such as the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, which are available as separate reports.

Please note that the language may have been edited in places for the purpose of clarity.

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Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo


Country visit: 26 November to 5 December 2013
Report published: 2 June 2014

  • Introduction: In Baku, the Special Rapporteur held consultations with the Chair of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs [...]. (para 2)
  • Violence against women in the family:
  • The 2008 Survey on Violence Against Women, provided extensive information on the root causes and patterns of violence in Azerbaijan. [...]10% of women interviewed experienced sexual abuses as children, most frequently alleged to be perpetrated by family members (step-father, father or other male family member) and male friends of the family. The survey identified Sheki-Zakatala, Baku and Ganja-Gazakh as areas of high risk of sexual abuse of girls before the age of 15. (para 7)
  • The survey also indicates that women victims of violence are considerably more likely to have suicidal thoughts or to attempt suicide. [...]During her visit, the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs informed the Special Rapporteur that 87 women had committed suicide in 2011 and 105 in 2012. (para 11)
  • According to the survey, and as the Rapporteur confirmed during her interviews with survivors of domestic violence, the women who sought state assistance and services, or who left home at least for one night, suffered from increased violence and were concerned for their own and their children’s safety. (para 13)
  • Violence against women in the community:
  • The high prevalence of early and/or forced marriages in Azerbaijan is a source of concern, and during the visit, it was, often referred to as a major societal problem. It is difficult to obtain accurate statistics on early marriages, given their illegal nature. The State Committee informed the Special Rapporteur that more than 5000 girls were victims of early marriages in 2013, while the approximate figure for 2012 was 4000. Findings suggest that the largest number of child marriages occur in Absheron region, Lenkoran, followed by Guba and Aghstafa. The majority of child marriages are alleged to take place against the girls’ will or under parental pressure. Among the reasons why child marriages occur survey participants listed the parents’ concern for the daughter’s future (45 percent), traditions and customs (29 percent), and the girls’ own wish (19 percent). The family’s economic situation was the least cited (7 percent) as a reason for early marriages. (para 15)
  • Despite the efforts undertaken by the authorities, in particular through the modification in 2011 of the Family Code which increased the age of consent to marriage to 18 years for both girls and boys, early/forced marriages has continued to endanger the lives of girls, including placing them, at a greater risk of domestic violence, marital rape or early pregnancies. The right to life, health and wellbeing, education and the enjoyment of their childhood, are all negatively impacted. The Rapporteur raised the issue of accountability, as provided for in the Criminal Code, of religious leaders who conduct early marriages, but also parents who collude in these practices, she also raised concerns about the adverse impact and consequences of unregistered religious marriages. Such marriages place women in a particularly vulnerable position, with no protection of rights. (para 16)
  • Numerous stakeholders, including the State Committee, the Office of the Ombudsperson, international organisations and local civil society organisations have engaged in awareness-raising and educational campaigns to prevent and combat early marriages. However, according to some sources these events are mainly carried out in the cities and not in rural areas where the prevalence of early marriages is higher. (para 17)
  • The Special Rapporteur also expressed serious concerns at the persistence of prenatal sex selection, whereby families choose to abort the pregnancy if they are expecting a girl child. According to the statistical data on sex ratio at birth from the State Statistical Committee from 1990 to 2010, the sex ratio at birth varied between 105-106 males to 100 females in early 1980s while these figures started to increase over the years and reached 120 male to 100 females in 1998 with a minor decline observed in recent years. According to sources, this phenomenon seems to be more prevalent in urban areas. Azerbaijan is alleged to have the second highest sex-selective abortion rates, after China. (para 18)
  • Cultural biases, placing greater value on sons than daughters, as well as economic concerns (such as, for example, the perception that male children are more likely to provide financial support in the future) can lead to sex-selective abortions. (para 19)
  • Violence against women condoned or perpetrated by the State:
  • According to the statistics provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 87 women prisoners had guardianship over teenagers. The Rapporteur was informed that a number of women with young children had to serve prison sentences, although article 79 of the Criminal Code allows for the possibility to postpone the sentence of a pregnant woman or a woman having children under the age of 8. (para 21)
  • During her visit of the prison, the Special Rapporteur expressed concern at the fact that a minor was imprisoned together with adult women. She was informed that the number of women offenders below 18 is too small to warrant a separate detention facility. Minor girls are therefore detained in the women’s prison. A separate correctional facility does exist for minor boys. The Rapporteur stressed that the failure to have a separate facility for girl juvenile offenders, is in breach of the country’s national legislation as well as the country’s international obligations. According to article 434.3 of the Criminal Procedural Code of Azerbaijan, juveniles should be kept separately from adults in detention facilities. (para 22)
  • The Special Rapporteur had requested a visit to an awaiting trial detention centre, but unfortunately access was not granted. The findings of the Report by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment states that “persons deprived of their liberty by the police in Azerbaijan run a significant risk of being ill-treated while in police custody (in particular when being interrogated).” The report also noted indications of different forms of humiliation and threats to use physical force or sexual violence against detainees or their relatives. (para 23)
  • Violence against women in the transnational sphere:
  • Azerbaijan has, per capita, the highest number of displaced populations in the world. [...]  The conflict in Nagorno Karabakh and the seven adjacent districts in 1992-1993 has had grave consequences for the displaced communities, including bodily integrity violations, loss of family members, and loss of material possessions. These factors, among others, continue to pose numerous challenges for these communities and also for the Government of Azerbaijan. Sources indicate that women and girls from IDP communities are subjected to multiple forms of violence and discrimination, including domestic violence, early marriages and sexual harassment. (para 25)
  • The precarious conditions in which many of these communities live, greatly limits the realisation of numerous rights, including access to substantive services. [...] (T)he Special Rapporteur voiced her concerns at the vulnerable and marginalized situation of women and children in these communities especially due to the challenges of their current living conditions. The women are largely responsible for caring for the home and family members, including those who have been disabled as a result the conflict, without adequate resources or access to appropriate infrastructure. The Rapporteur witnessed and heard distressing accounts of hardships and the challenges of living in camps, dormitories and ‘hotel’ accommodation. (para 26)
  • Social and cultural rights:
  • Azerbaijan has a high literacy rate. UNICEF’s Azerbaijan Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey revealed that women are slightly less likely than men to be literate (93 vs. 98 percent) and that the gender disparity in literacy rates is more obvious in rural areas, where only 88.6 percent of women are literate versus 96.4 percent of men. The UNICEF survey findings suggest that there is a high girls’ dropout rate between grades 8 and 11, and some households mainly in rural areas or IDP/refugee camps may stop sending girls to school when they reach puberty, in order for them to do domestic chores and be prepared for marriage. According to the information provided by the State, in 2012-2013, approximately 50% of university students were women. (para 42)
  • During her visit to a settlement in Sumgayit, the Rapporteur observed and also heard testimonies that reflect the precarious living conditions of many IDPs and the difficulties that women face in accessing quality and specialised health services, including for their children. (para 44)
  • The Special Rapporteur was informed of the existence of gender stereotypes in educational materials, and also generally in the media. According to the UNCT, the textbooks recommended by the Ministry of Education replicate existing stereotypes, presenting men as leaders in power-related positions (the director of a school, president, etc.) or in male-dominated professions (a soldier, policemen, sportsman, etc.), whereas women are depicted as housewives, teachers,  librarians, cleaners, cooks and doctors. This issue was corroborated by representatives of the Ministry of Education who informed the Rapporteur that the review of textbooks was under consideration. (para 45)
  • Challenges in fulfilling the State's obligation to act with due diligence to eliminate violence against women:
  • The Government has committed to protecting and promoting the rights of women and girls through the ratification of numerous international human rights instruments, including [...] the Convention on the Rights of the Child [...]. (para 50)
  • Prevention:  
  • As regards forced and early marriages, the Family Code was amended in 2011 to establish the legal age of marriage at 18 for both men and women. The Criminal Code was accordingly amended [...] The Criminal Code also establishes more severe penalties for forced marriages of children. (para 58)
  • The Special Rapporteur is of the view that the activities carried out in order to prevent violence against women cannot be considered as effective and coordinated [...] sustained prevention strategies, including with all concerned stakeholders, in particular women, children, men, community and religious leaders is crucial. (para 60)
  • Conclusions and recommendations - Accountability:
  • The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government: [...] Ensure that religious leaders and parents involved in cases of early/forced marriages are duly prosecuted. (para 85(k))
  • Societal transformation, including awareness raising, addressing gender stereotypes and women’s empowerment:
  • The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government: Include in the national strategy on combating violence against women comprehensive prevention measures based on:
  • Gender sensitive programs in the school curricula tackling issues such as early/forced marriages, school dropouts, violence in the family and in the community, discrimination issues (para 86(a)(v));
  • The revision of school textbooks and materials replicating gender stereotypes. (para 86(a)(vi))
  • Statistics and data collection:
  • The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government: [...] Ensure consistent data collection and analysis on violence against women, through the establishment of a standardised and centralised information system that receives information from the police, justice, health and social services. Data, on the victim and the perpetrator, should be disaggregated by [...] age [...] (para 87(a));
  • Develop a system for monitoring school dropout rates of girl children, in particular in regions with a high percentage of child marriages. (para 87(b)) 


Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Anand Grover


Country visit: 16 to 23 May 2012
Report published: 3 May 2013

  • Introduction: The Special Rapporteur held meetings with senior Government officials from the [...] State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs. (para 3)
  • International and national legal framework: Azerbaijan is a party to a number of international human rights treaties that recognize the right to health, including [...] the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including the two Optional Protocols thereto. (para 6) The Constitution of Azerbaijan contains a number of provisions relating to the right to health [...] article 17 prohibits children’s involvement in activities that threaten their lives or health. (para 7)
  • High prevalence of tuberculosis, MDR-TB and XDR-TB: Although the DOTS programme achieved 100 per cent coverage in 2005, the Special Rapporteur remains concerned about the quality of testing and treatment available under the programme. For example, while protocols on [...] childhood tuberculosis [...] are in place, some have been approved without meeting international standards as defined by WHO. (para 31)


Special Representative of the Secretary General on internally displaced persons

Press Release- "Peace necessary to restore human rights of internally displaced persons in Azerbaijan: UN expert"
Country visit: 19 - 24 May 2010

Education: With regard to the right to education, Mr. Kälin recommended undertaking an assessment of the quality and educational needs of internally displaced persons with a view to ensuring that they benefit from the same quality of education as other children, and from the social integration and employment opportunities that schooling should offer.


Special Representative of the Secretary General on internally displaced persons, Walter Kälin
(A/HRC/8/6/Add. 2)

Country visit: 2 April – 6 April 2007
Report published: 15 April 2008

Internally displaced persons: With regard to the human rights of internally displaced persons, in 2004, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights noted that they suffered from persistently high unemployment, an inadequate standard of living and a high incidence of malnutrition, infant mortality and other health problems. In 2005, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination raised concerns about discrimination of, inter alia, displaced persons in the areas of employment, education, housing and health. In 2006, the Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed its concern about discriminatory attitudes towards certain groups of children, including internally displaced children, and recommended that such children be placed in schools in local communities in order to facilitate their integration. Finally, in 2007, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women noted that internally displaced women and girls remained in a vulnerable and marginalised situation, in particular with regard to access to education, employment, health and housing. (Paragraph 12)

The Chairperson of the State Committee on Women, Children and Family Issues, whose Committee was about to establish psychological support stations in the country, stressed the need to increase the involvement of internally displaced persons in all social, political and economic processes. She believed that the protracted conflict situation had led to some (particularly middle-aged) displaced persons suffering from a certain "victim" or "immigrant" attitude, and it was important to encourage them to become fully active members of society again. (Paragraph 47)

Economic problems: Widespread unemployment and economic and social problems affect large parts of the population. The Representative observed that, except for the shortage of adequate housing and their lack of property, such as real estate and livestock, internally displaced persons are generally not dramatically worse off than the non-displaced population. This achievement, impressive given the magnitude of the problem, is mainly due to sustained Government support, such as monthly allowances, free accommodation and free services, such as electricity and education for internally displaced persons. At the same time, a number of additional needs, specific to internally displaced persons could be identified, some of which would require further investigation. They include the quality of education for displaced children, nutritional deficits, and mental and other health problems. The lack of relevant statistical data and surveys conducted in accordance with international standards makes it difficult to develop appropriate responses to these challenges. (Paragraph 30)

Housing: Among the most disadvantaged groups of internally displaced persons are those who have lived in tent camps, railway wagons and mud brick houses for more than a decade. Their shelters provide inadequate protection against the harsh winters and the stifling heat of summer, and they suffer from an unreliable supply of water and electricity. Most internally displaced persons in urban areas reside in run-down, overcrowded dormitories or public buildings, including former schools. Entire families, including an additional young generation now growing up, are cramped into single rooms which do not offer any privacy. These substandard shelters lack sufficient or adequate sanitary facilities, access to potable water, or waste disposal. A 2005 Government survey found that the sanitary conditions (such as sewerage systems and toilets) in the dwellings of 41.2 per cent of internally displaced persons did not meet even the most basic requirements. The Representative concluded that these conditions were clearly not in accordance with the right to an adequate standard of living, including the right to adequate housing, as provided for by Guiding Principle 18. (Paragraph 31)

Education: Overall, internally displaced children in Azerbaijan have access to schools. The literacy rate of internally displaced persons is equal to that of the general population, and internally displaced students benefit from free school bags, uniforms, books and stationery, as well as free access to higher education. The Representative was impressed to learn that, since 2004, 700 schools had been built or renovated by the Government with the support of UNICEF and UNFPA, many of them for the purpose of ensuring continued access to education for displaced children. He was satisfied that the issue was a priority for the Government and one causing little concern to displaced parents, in contrast with many other countries the Representative had visited. He concluded that the problem lay primarily in the quality of the education provided rather than in ensuring access as such. (Paragraph 40)

Nevertheless, problems in the education sector persist. Pointing out that education in general required significant Government attention, the Minister for Education indicated to the Representative that the long-lasting conflict had indeed had a negative impact on the quality of education for displaced children. The financial and social hardships for their families, the material condition of schools, the quality of teachers and the psychological condition of displaced children all played a potentially adverse role. According to the Minister, teachers working in schools for internally displaced persons were often themselves stressed and suffering from psychological problems due to their displacement. Some were in need of updating their professional skills, but the Government was unable to organise special courses for them. Despite the Government's efforts, many schools for displaced children were in worse shape than local schools, some of which also suffered, for example, from a lack of heating during winter months. The precarious, overcrowded living conditions in the homes of internally displaced persons further contributed to lowering the performance of their children in school. The Minister also suspected that displaced children were overall less likely to enrol in university, partly because of financial constraints or a socially-induced lack of motivation, but owing to the lack of relevant data, this could not be verified. (Paragraph 41)

Recalling the recommendation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child that States ensure that refugee and displaced children are placed in schools in the local communities in order to facilitate their integration, the Representative inquired into the logic and current status of separate educational facilities, above all in urban areas. He learned that the Government was trying to preserve the social fabric of communities, which would eventually facilitate reintegration upon return. This led to some schools in Baku accommodating regional schools from Fizuli, Kelbajar or Lachin, so that in effect two schools were housed in one building and classes were held in shifts or in separate classrooms. In line with the view of his predecessor, the Representative agreed with the Government that keeping communities together could indeed constitute an advantage in a situation where return was imminent or where these communities were living in isolation. In this way, the overcrowding of local schools could be avoided, and children in isolated rural areas would not have to commute to distant schools. Over time, however, the social segregation and potentially lower quality of education became problematic. (Paragraph 42)

The Representative welcomes the Government's new policy of moving forward from segregated schools for internally displaced persons in urban areas. Although there are indications that such persons attending separate schools are disadvantaged, despite notable Government efforts, by an overall lower quality of education provided to them, and that displaced children may make less use of higher education opportunities than the resident population, the absence of reliable data does not permit unambiguous conclusions nor, more importantly, targeted reforms. (Paragraph 68)

The Representative supports a suggestion by the Minister for Education that the level and quality of education of internally displaced persons be studied, with the aim of filling remaining gaps through specific programmes implemented in cooperation with the international community. He encourages mixed schooling with local children wherever feasible. (Paragraph 69)

Health: While public medical care in Azerbaijan was generally seen to be in need of improvement, some vulnerable groups among internally displaced persons are particularly affected. First of all, people living in substandard accommodation in rural areas are obviously at a higher risk of catching diseases owing to the lack of sanitary facilities and sewage systems and exposure to the elements. The extremely overcrowded living conditions of internally displaced persons in urban areas have also reportedly led to tensions and negative effects on the psychosocial development of children. According to the Government's plans, all recently constructed settlements were to be provided with well-equipped hospitals; however, the Government admitted that shortages of medical supplies, as reported by international observers, might persist in remote villages. (Paragraph 44)

In its 2005 report to the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Government of Azerbaijan pointed out that mortality was generally highest among women of low levels of social development, and especially among refugees and displaced persons. During his mission, the Representative was informed that maternal and child mortality differed from one settlement to another and was perhaps not particularly high among the displaced. He noted that reliable figures on this important issue were not available and a survey would be needed. (Paragraph 45)


Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Ambeyi Ligabo

Country visit: 22 April – 28 April 2007
Report published: 19 February 2008

Freedom of expression: Other categories, including trade unionists, writers, students and in general human rights defenders are also under severe stress; in an oppressing atmosphere of conformism, they are often depicted as traitors and proxies of hostile forces. For the purpose of guaranteeing pluralism, relevant authorities should make sure that both State and private media provide enough room for constructive debate and dialogue on sensitive issues, especially to those groups that rarely have the opportunity to express their opinions to a wide audience. (Paragraph 68)


Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion, Asma Jahangir

Country visit: 26 February – 5 March 2006
Report published: 18 October 2006

Education: The authorities have seriously taken up the task of introducing a curriculum in schools on the teachings of religions. The objective of the project would be to promote the ideals of a pluralistic society. The Education Ministry is taking the lead in this undertaking. (Paragraph 77)


Special Rapporteur on human rights on the question of torture
Sir Nigel Rodley

Country visit: 7 May – 15 May 2000
Report published: November 2000

Juvenile justice: With respect to access to a lawyer, the Prosecutor General indicated that under the current system only juvenile offenders and serious offenders were provided with free State-appointed lawyers where needed. The new Criminal Procedure Code provides that all indigent suspects will have access to a State-appointed lawyer. Paragraph IV, subparagraph 1, of Article 19, "Security of the right to receive legal aid and the right to defence", of the new Criminal Procedure Code provides that "[t]he organ executing the criminal process should secure the following rights of the suspected person or the defendant: to receive legal assistance from the moment of apprehension or arrest, or, for suspected persons, before the first interrogation, and for defendants at the moment of arraignment." Furthermore, paragraph 2, subparagraph 7, of article 153 provides that the personnel of the authority implementing the criminal process and responsible for temporary detention places is required, "[i]f the arrested person cannot afford to hire a lawyer, to help him/her, at the expense of the Government, to meet the duty lawyer working at the legal entity in the area of the temporary detention place." While some officials said that a lawyer should be provided immediately to any person under arrest, or at least during the first interrogation, the head of the Law Enforcement Bodies Department affirmed that a lawyer must be provided after the initial 48 hours. This means that the lawyer must be present only when the suspect is brought before a magistrate. (Paragraph 85)

Articles 19 and 153 provide other basic rights of arrested persons. Everyone who is arrested must be immediately informed of his/her rights (art. 19, para. 4, subpara. 2 and art. 153 para. 2, subpara. 1) and of the reasons for the arrest and of any charge against him/her (ibid). The arrested person must also be informed of his/her right not to incriminate him/herself or his/her relatives. The family or relatives of any person under arrest are to be informed promptly about the arrest by the personnel of the temporary detention place (art. 153, para. 2, subpara. 4). The same provision also stipulates that the head of the place of temporary detention must take the initiative to inform the family or the relatives of elderly persons, teenagers and psychologically disabled persons in case of arrest. Previously, detaining authorities had up to three days to inform the family of someone detained, which was said to lead to a potential period of unacknowledged incommunicado detention (see article 93 of the previous Criminal Procedure Code). Then, investigators were said to have discretion whether or not to grant access to family members.9 Finally, paragraph 2, subparagraph 10, of article 153 provides that the personnel of temporary detention places should "[n]ot behave in a way as to humiliate the personality or integrity of the arrested person, and to pay special attention to women, elderly persons, teenagers and disabled persons." (Paragraph 88)


Special Representative of the Secretary General on internally displaced persons, Mr. Francis M. Deng

Country visit: 21 May – 1 June 1998
Report published: 25 January 1999

Internally displaced persons: The situation of internal displacement in Azerbaijan, as in many other situations studied by the Representative of the Secretary-General, is characterised by conflict-induced flight of large numbers of people along ethnic lines. On account of having had to abandon their homes, property and livelihood, they suddenly found themselves among the poorest, most vulnerable members of society. The internally displaced, and particularly large numbers of women and children, are found in camps and public buildings, often in conditions of deprivation and largely dependent upon outside assistance to meet their basic needs. (Paragraph 2)

Within the family, the experience of displacement has affected gender roles. According to the traditional family structure in Azerbaijan, men are responsible for providing income while women act as the principal family care-givers by undertaking all household chores, cooking and caring for the children, in addition to whatever economic activity they may have been engaged in. Displacement has compelled many internally displaced women to assume new or at least increased responsibilities for financially supporting the family, because of the death, disablement or unemployment of the men in the family. (Paragraph 38)

Regarding clothing needs, it must be recalled that the mission took place during the warmer months, making it difficult to determine the extent to which winter clothing needs are met. The lack of adequate heating in tents, other temporary structures and public buildings that have not yet been rehabilitated nonetheless suggests that the need for warm winter clothing would be considerable. The muddy conditions that reportedly are common in rural settlements outside of the summer months suggest the importance of proper footwear. One humanitarian worker recounted that it was not uncommon to see children going barefoot or in stocking feet in the mud and slush characterising the winter months. (Paragraph 75)

Housing: One suggestion for shelter improvement raised by several government officials and some international NGOs (but, notably, not by any of the displaced with whom the Representative met) was the construction or provision of a partition in the single-room dwellings in which most internally displaced families reside. This measure is considered important in order to conform with cultural norms according to which adolescent girls and unmarried women are to sleep in rooms other than those occupied by their male relatives. Government officials noted that in respect of these cultural traditions even the poorest family would have a two-room dwelling. One family whose railway carriage dwelling the Representative visited had been provided with a partition by OXFAM. Other agencies with whom the Representative raised this request replied that they had not responded on account of limited resources. UNHCR, for one, quite reasonably replied that it would be willing to consider this and other suggestions relating to shelter improvement and to invest more in shelter if the authorities would consider more of the internally displaced as so-called "long-stayers", entitled to something other than shelter that is designed to be strictly temporary until anticipated return. (Paragraph 74)

Minority groups: The overwhelming majority, over 99 per cent, of the internally displaced population are ethnic Azeris. The remainder are some 4,000 Kurds from the Lachin and Kelbajar districts and several hundred persons of various other ethnic groups, mostly Russian. The most recent government statistics indicate that 47.4 per cent of the internally displaced population is male and 52.6 per cent female. Children under 17 years of age represent 32 per cent of this population and pensioners some 19 per cent. / "Information about the refugees and internally displaced persons in the Republic of Azerbaijan", annex to letter dated 3 August 1998 from the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations Office at Geneva addressed to the secretariat of the Sub-Commission (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1998/35)./ The occupational background of 40 per cent of the displaced is agriculture, 6.1 per cent education, 5.4 per cent health care, 4.8 per cent construction, and 11.4 per cent various other professions, while one third are without any formal profession. / UNDP, Azerbaijan Human Development Report 1997, p. 93./ The level of education of the internally displaced is relatively high: 71 per cent have some, if not full, secondary school education, 10 per cent have completed higher education and 10 per cent have completed technical education or incomplete higher education. / Ibid., p. 93./ (Paragraph 31)

Education: Notwithstanding the disruptive experience of displacement, community links have often proved resilient. In several of the public buildings, camps or other settlements, large numbers of internally displaced persons from the same community or region can be found. In some places, this concentration has lent itself to community structures recreating themselves. In a camp near the town of Barda, for example, the camp population of more than 6,000 persons have settled and organised themselves on the basis of their area of origin. One manifestation of this trend is in education, where parallel school systems have been established for students and teachers from each of the four main home communities represented in the camps. (Paragraph 35)

Guiding Principle 23, reaffirming the right of every human being to education, calls upon the authorities concerned to ensure that the internally displaced receive education which is free and compulsory at the primary level. It will be recalled, from section II, that national legislation relating to internally displaced persons contains provisions for the education of children and adolescents, without discrimination. (Paragraph 87)

In the education of the internally displaced, issues of integration with the host populations also arise. In the Xatai district, for instance, the local authorities stated that internally displaced children were educated in schools separate from the host population. It was suggested that doing so facilitated the children's adaptation to their displacement by educating them with other children in a similar situation. However, in a situation of displacement lasting several years, it also segregates them from the local population, and thereby impedes the process of integration, which is particularly important as alternative solutions to return are increasingly required. (Paragraph 91)

Food Security: Food assistance, two 1996 surveys found, is the most important need for the majority of internally displaced persons ... This is especially the case in rural areas, where limited opportunities for income generation create higher levels of dependency. The World Food Programme (WFP) defines a household as "food secure" when "it has access, at all times, through home production or purchasing power, to food, in adequate quantity, safety and acceptability, needed to provide a healthy life for all its members. Briefing material prepared by the World Food Programme for the visit of the Representative, May 1998. Several years after being displaced, many internally displaced households continue to lack food security. A survey conducted by World Vision International in the spring of 1998 indicated that the problem is most acute in Barda, Oguz and Ujar districts. See UN OCHA, Azerbaijan Humanitarian Situation Report for August 1998, p. 4. In outlying areas, limited economic opportunities partly explain the higher levels of food insecurity. Generally in rural areas, the land to which internally displaced persons have access tends to be of too poor soil quality to enable self-sufficiency, notwithstanding the support provided by several agencies for gardening activities. For instance, internally displaced persons in one camp explained that they could cultivate only onions. The food assistance provided by international agencies is designed to cover 50 per cent of nutritional needs, providing items such as flour, oil and pulses (edible seeds such as peas, beans, lentils, etc.), with the beneficiaries attempting to supplement this with vegetables, meat and by means of the bread subsidy provided by the Government. However, the high rates of malnutrition that have been found to exist, especially among children and the elderly, indicate that the food assistance needs of the internally displaced are not being met adequately. (Paragraph 61)

Right to health: Internally displaced persons in Azerbaijan typically have suffered a deterioration in their health since their displacement. A nationwide health and nutrition survey undertaken in 1996 noted elevated rates of chronic malnutrition among children and the elderly, and high levels of anaemia and iodine deficiency.... Scabies, especially among children, and other skin infections, respiratory illnesses, malaria, diarrhoea and vitamin A deficiency are also prevalent health problems, especially in the camps. (Paragraph 76)

Special efforts to address the psychological and all other needs of displaced children are required, as Guiding Principle 4 provides. Important efforts to address the psycho-social needs of internally displaced children in Azerbaijan have been made by a number of international agencies, as well as local NGOs. One notable example is the UNICEF programme by which some 300 internally displaced persons have been trained as social workers to provide early childhood education and psycho-social rehabilitation activities to some 4,000 displaced children. The involvement of WFP means that the social workers participating in this programme receive not only training and meaningful employment but also food assistance for their work, while the children are provided with biscuits as part of the programme. (Paragraph 78)



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