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State Committee on Family, Woman and Children Affairs, UNICEF Azerbaijan organize roundtable to discuss child marriages study

BAKU, 06 May 2009 – The State Committee on Family, Woman and Children Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan and UNICEF Azerbaijan are holding a roundtable on 8 May 2009 to discuss the results of a recent study on child marriages in Azerbaijan. The study, which was conducted in cooperation with the International Centre for Social Studies, provides a situation analysis of the nature of child marriages, as well as its causes and consequences, in the country.

The 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) stipulates that any person aged below 18 is a child thus UNICEF considers any marriage of persons below the age of 18 as a child marriage. The international standards enshrined in human rights treaties and conventions perceive child marriages as a violation of human rights. The negative consequences of child marriages include increased risk of serious complications during delivery by young mothers, low birth-weigh, and a higher chance that the newborn or mother will not survive. It also has negative impact on the education of young couples, especially of girls, leading to their social exclusion, discrimination and poverty. 
Child marriages were a fairly common practice in the pre-Soviet era of Azerbaijani history. Then, their prevalence decreased sharply during the Soviet time. In recent years, experts and human rights activists have raised alarm about the increasing prevalence of child marriages in Azerbaijan. Therefore, the State Committee on Family, Woman and Children Affairs and UNICEF joined hands to conduct this important survey to examine the situation of child marriages.

The State Committee on Family, Woman and Children Affairs and UNICEF Azerbaijan hope that the roundtable will increase public awareness about the negative consequences of child marriages and help identify action to be taken by the government and civil society to eliminate this phenomenon in the best interests of Azerbaijani girls, ensuring their right to education, health and decision making about their own lives and protecting them from lapsing into poverty and abuse.



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