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Gender and Land Rights Database

Azerbaijan

Civil society and indigenous people’s organizations advocating for equality of land rights

- Although women’s non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are growing in numbers and outreach, they face considerable constraints. Lack of adequate funding is a key issue. Many women’s NGOs have yet to develop the international and regional networks and outreach through which such support can be sourced. Community financial contributions for the work of women’s NGOs are very low or nonexistent, making these NGOs largely unsustainable in the absence of high levels of donor support (10).

- There are currently 2 200 officially registered NGOs in the country, of which 67 are women’s organizations (19). Women’s NGOs represent a relatively small segment of the overall NGO sector and have tended to focus their work on issues such as violence against women, trafficking and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) (10).

Additionally, the operations of international and non-governmental organizations are mainly directed to providing relief and support to IDPs, although some of these organizations are interested in rural development and are increasingly involved in community organization. However, many NGOs are still very weak and not sufficiently participatory (3). 

- The Azerbaijan Gender Association “Symmetry”, established in 1999, is active in public consciousness-raising about the causes and consequences of physical, sexual and psychological violence against women and children. In addition, “Symmetry” also conducts gender-related research and implements conferences and seminars that focus on issues such as the need to improve reproductive health care and child care and the need to foster the inclusion of women in business and political activities. In 2005, the association presented the Alternative Report on the Implementation of the CEDAW 2001–2005 (16).

- The D. Alieva Association for the Defence of Women’s Rights was formally established in 1990. The Association is active in protecting Azerbaijani women’s social, political and economic rights and in enhancing women’s participation in social life and political activities. Organized into working groups, the Association focuses on several objectives. One group, for example, provides counselling to women who are refugees or IDPs. Another group provides training sessions to improve women’s work skills and to assist them in obtaining employment. One group uses seminars to raise women’s consciousness about legal rights and another group provides legal representation (23).

- Azerbaijan Feminist Club of YUVA Humanitarian Center, YUVA The main focus is empowerment of young women across the country, organizing group discussions and seminars and trainings on gender issues, leadership and human rights. The organization campaigns for gender equality by promoting solitary between women of different ethnicities and nationalities.

Agro-Meslehet NGO, focuses on development of agriculture and rural areas, environmental and organic farming.  Works on strengthening of private agricultural development, organizes trainings to local and international businesses, humanitarian agencies and multilateral institutions, also provides professional technical assistance.

- Acdi/Voca organization implemented the USAID-funded program Farmer-to-Farmer to improve farm and agribusiness operations, agricultural systems, to increase production of fruits, vegetables, field crops and livestock. 

Local decision-making organizations and women’s representation in them

- There are 2 757 municipalities in the country which range from small rural villages to large city districts. They are technically independent of the excoms which are local state administration offices directly subordinate or accountable to the central government. Depending on the size of the population in a given municipality, the municipal councils consist of from 5 to 19 council members who are elected for five-year terms. According to the Constitution, local government is exercised through local bodies of state administration and through municipal governments.

Local bodies of state administration are regulated by the Constitutional Provision on Local Executive Authority and municipal governments are regulated by relevant laws. Legislation in both of these areas continues to be developed. Although the Constitution and other secondary laws define municipalities as bodies for local self-government, the municipal councils lack a complete legal framework and proper funding and are subordinate to the excoms (22).

- The first trade unions were founded in 1905 and women became members on equal terms with men. The organization with the largest membership at the present time is the Azerbaijan Confederation of Trade Unions, the umbrella organization for the various unions, which has 1 341 083 members, 43 percent of whom are women. The Confederation of Trade Unions has developed and approved regulations on trade union committees for women’s issues and gender equality. These committees have begun to be established in trade union organizations at every level (13).

Legal Information and capacity development on land rights

- The Azerbaijan Gender Information Centre coordinates training programmes and undertakes research in selected areas (10).

- The Azerbaijan Women and Development Centre (AWDC), established in 1994, serves as a resource centre for gender-related issues. With its headquarters in Baku and with five field offices across the country, AWDC focuses on the enhancement of women’s roles and status, gender equality and women’s rights and social protection. The Centre organizes seminars, workshops and training sessions in various areas related to women’s well-being such as women’s health, family planning, drug abuse, violence against women and children, women’s rights and economic self-sufficiency (23).

- In 2006, with the assistance of USAID, the Union of Women Lawyers was created with the aim of assisting women to solve current problems and serving as a source of legal knowledge for women.

- Association for Protection of Women's Rights (APWR), provides free legal counselling and assists with lawyers in legal disputes over human rights violations. In few regions, in which legal aid is not provided, the association organizes seminars on human rights and law. The other area of work is politics, helping to improve female participation, offering courses in leadership, conflict resolution and negotiation techniques.  

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography