Azerbaijan, Baku, 7 March / corr. Trend S. Ilhamgizi/ The interview of Hijran Huseynova, the chairman of State Commission on Family, Women and Children's Problems, with Trend .
Question: Mrs. Huseynova, what are the key problems that Azerbaijani women face at the moment and what does these women expect from the Government?
Answer: First of all, I would like to congratulate all our women on the occasion of 8 March- International Women's Day. I believe that our women deserve more attention and care not only on 8 March, but on every day of their life. Azerbaijani women face plenty of problems and I think that the majority of the problems arise from the lack of knowledge about their rights, and therefore it is quite necessary that every woman should be educated about her rights. Once our women are well-aware of their rights, majority of the problems faced by them shall get solved automatically. As to what we expect from the government, I can say that the Government of our country provides a good care and attention to women. However it does not mean that we should not expect anything from the government. Our women should not wait for anyone to do something for them and help them. Every woman who is healthy enough should think of why she does not work and does not know her rights in her family. Sometimes, married women are kicked out of their own houses. Why? Because she got married at a mere age of 15 or 16, therefore, she is not aware of her rights, she does not have a right to property and she did not get registered in the house she lives. The children that were born into her family sometimes do not even have an identity card. For such instances it is not the government who is to be blamed, but the women themselves. Over the last period of time, the parents want their daughters to get married as soon as possible. Once a daughter is born to the families, they start thinking about her marriage. However, parents should first of all try to make a worthy citizen out of their daughter. In fact, family life has immense importance in the mentality of Azerbaijani people. But I do not think that these problems originate from the mentality. We all were born and grown up in Azerbaijan. Personally, in my family the first task put before the daughter was proper education. Of course, our daughters need a family as well. The family, children and a spouse are the sacred things for women, due to the mentality peculiarities. But, the particular feature and originality of Azerbaijan women is that they take care of all the tasks they are expected to do. They take care of their families, work, and take their stand in a society at the same time. If the women do not do that, it means they do not know their rights, they are either lazy or do not respect themselves. The Commission carries out educational works among the women. We have presented a set of proposals to the parliament on the increase of the marriageable age.
Question: Is there any progress in the adoption of orphan children?
Answer: Since the beginning of this year, some 5 to 6 children have been adopted. The increase in the number of the adopted children is not the key issue. It is important not to make mistakes in this regard and appropriate families should be selected for this purpose, so as to ensure that the families who adopt children do not return them afterwards. The Coordinating Council on De-Institutionalization has been set up and any government bodies included in the Council is supposed to carry out efficient work regarding the orphan children and the families adopting them. Our Commission deals with the adoption of children more than the others. We try to find out whether the families adopting children can keep them. We also determine the amount of funds that the government allocates for the adopted children. The families hold the responsibility for these funds and should spend them appropriately. We exercise control over the adopted children and we need psychologists for that purpose as well. There is also a need to reform children's home, boarding schools and rehabilitation centers.
Question: Is there any control over the adoption of Azerbaijani children by the foreign citizens? Are the names, surnames and nationalities of Azerbaijani people changed?
Answer: Several foreign citizens have appealed to adopt children. We have intensified control over it. We have studied various old documents. There are no serious problems in this regard as yet. The Commission is studying the terms of accreditation of adoption in line with the international standards. Some foreigners, who were waiting for their turns, changed their decisions later, so we retuned them their documents. U.S and European Union country citizens dominate among those who want to adopt the children. Of course, the foreigners can give their surnames to their children and can even change their nationalities. Every family has a right to it. In America, all are Americans, not various nationalists. We must try to maintain relations with the families adopting the children and see whether their rights are not violated. An association for the adoption has been set up in U.S. The Association regularly holds regular meetings, organizes days of Azerbaijan and tries that these children does not forget their native language, culture and history. We plan to establish contacts with them so that the Azerbaijani children could visit their home land as well. The adopting families usually want their children to keep in touch with their home lands. Recently, there was very interesting case. The former Italian ambassador to Azerbaijan Mrs. Margarita Costa adopted Azerbaijani child. The child was at death's door and no one believed that he would recover. Mrs. Costa spent a lot to cure the child and adopted him later. She gave two names to the child, one Italian and the other is Azerbaijani - Rauf. Mrs. Costa bought a house in Azerbaijan and comes to her house in Azerbaijan every year so that her child could see his homeland, and understand that he is Azerbaijani. We should propagandize such facts; educate the people about health of the children and about their happy future.