Mixed Opinions Regarding Draft Law on Prevention of Family Violence

Azerbaijan, Baku, 11 April / Trend corr. K.Zarbaliyeva / The Azerbaijani community has received the new draft law on Prevention of family violence with mixed feelings. The draft law on Prevention of family violence, developed by the standing Parliamentary Commission on Human right and Social Policy, has resulted in mixed opinions. Those who are against the draft law believe that the adoption of the law contradicts national mentality, family values and increases the number of divorces in families. However, those who support the law, have stated that this would prevent violence which does exist within some families.

The law aims to regulate relationships within families and prevent violence. Under the law, members of families, who are faced with such violence will be able to appeal to law enforcement bodies.

Matanat Azizova, head of Woman Crisis Centre, who has been engaged in problems of family violence since 2001, believes it necessary to adopt this law. There are four types of domestic violence in Azerbaijan, namely physical, psychological, economical and sexual. The most common types of violence are physical and psychological.

According to Azizova, women face violence not only from their husbands, but also from their fathers, sisters-in-law and mothers-in-law. The reason that many women who serving prison sentences is for murdering their husbands. "Conflicts involving the husband and wife usually end with the wife committing a crime. Women who have been subjected to violence and tortureappeal to the law enforcement departmentin order to provide security in the family. However, the law enforcement department considers such complaints as a family matter and do not consider the appeals," Azizova stated.

I do not agree that the adoption of the law on 'prevention of family violence' will lead to the collapse of family life and increase the number of divorces. I feel positive that the new law will strengthen families and husbands will feel a responsibility towards his wife, children, resulting in a reduction of violence.

Azizova believes that through 'fighting against family violence', human trafficking, prostitution and many other issues may also be tackled. "Countless investigations have revealed that most prostitutes have faced violence in their childhood," Azizova stated.

Rabiyat Aslanova, the chairman of Standing Parliament Commission on Human Rights believes that there is no need to pass this law as the Azerbaijani legislation contains enough provisions to combat violence. "The problem can be solved by making changes to the legislation as well," she said.

According to Aslanova, the facts of violence in families are solved in line not only with the law, but with traditions and national values. "There are problems in families not only with husbands, but also with sisters-in-law and mothers-in-law. Azerbaijani families have their own principles which were formed many years ago. If someone is subject to torture, the law will act upon it. However, there are nuances within the families which the law cannot cope with. What can the law do if a woman does not report the violence against her? They are the moral laws that work in this case," she said.

Aslanova said there is no need to pass the law in a hurry. It is necessary to restore traditions and to take advice from the elderly. In this case we will have less divorce cases.

According to Aslanova, the passing of law will have a negative influence on the pattern of family.

According to Musa Guliyev, who opposes the law, this law corresponds to the European model of family. " Azerbaijan must develop models relevant to its values," said MP. "The Bill does not give a full description on what is family violence," he said. "The law states that any psychological stress is violence. If a father is upset with his child and is interested in his children's sexual life, this is considered as violence. Once the law is passed, the family members will deal with each other only through lawyers," said Guliyev.

According to the Bill, those being subject to violence will be granted refuge where they are permitted to remain for 30 to 160 days.

The MP, who is against this item, believes that women living in these refuges are less likely to return. The law can not solve all problems within a family. Every family has its own peculiarities. This bill will change the relations between parents and children, and husband and wife, said Guliyev.

According to Hadi Rajabli, the chairman of Standing Parliament Committee on Social Policy, national values should be taken into consideration while developing this law. The Azerbaijani society is not yet ready for that bill at present, he said.

According to the MP, those who beat their children and wives are punished in line with the Azerbaijani legislation. "But the majority of such cases are hidden from the public. Violence and torture within the family leads to death in the long run. Therefore, it is important to pass the Bill," the chairman of the Committee said.

On 31 March, the hearings were held in the Azerbaijani parliament on campaign of European Union "Fighting Family Violence against Women' in which MPs, domestic and international experts took part in the hearing.

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