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CHOICE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.
It can rapidly improve the well-being of
women and girls, transform families and
societies, and accelerate global development.
The extent to which couples and individuals
have real choices about whether and
when to have children, and how many
children to have, also has a direct impact
on fertility levels. Where people are able to
make these decisions for themselves, they
tend to choose smaller families. Where
choices are constrained, they tend to
have families that are either large or very
small, sometimes with no children at all.
No country can yet claim to have made
reproductive rights a reality for all. Choices
are limited for far too many women. And
this means that there are still millions
of people who are having more—or
fewer—children than they would like, with
implications not only for individuals, but also
for communities, institutions, economies,
labour markets and entire nations.
For some, the pursuit of reproductive
rights is thwarted by health systems that
fail to provide essential services, such
as contraceptives. For others, economic
barriers, including poor-quality, lowpaying
jobs and an absence of childcare,
make it next to impossible to start or
expand a family. Underlying these and
other obstacles is persistent gender
inequality, which denies women the power
to make fundamental decisions in life.
In the 1994 Programme of Action of the
International Conference on Population and
Development, governments committed to
enabling people to make informed choices
about their sexual and reproductive health as
a matter of fundamental human rights. Now,
almost 25 years later, this continues to require
ensuring that individuals have access to the
means to decide freely and responsibly the
number, spacing and timing of their children.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable
Development reinforces these principles
by making reproductive health and rights
a specific aim. In fact, reproductive rights
are integral to realizing all the Sustainable
Development Goals. THAT IS THE
POWER OF CHOICE.
The way forward is the full realization
of reproductive rights, for every individual
and couple, no matter where or how they
live, or how much they earn. This includes
dismantling all the barriers—whether
economic, social or institutional—that
inhibit free and informed choice.
In the end, our success will not just come in
reaching what we imagine is ideal fertility. The
real measure of progress is people themselves:
especially the well-being of women and girls,
their enjoyment of their rights and full equality,
and the life choices that they are free to make.
Dr. Natalia Kanem
Executive Director
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund

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In today’s world, gaps in wealth have grown shockingly wide. Billions of people linger at the bottom, denied their human rights and prospects for a better life. At the top, resources and privileges accrue at explosive rates, pushing the world ever further from the vision of equality embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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This annual report shows how funds entrusted to UNFPA have enabled us to protect and promote the health and rights of millions of women and young people and enable them to realize their full potential.
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10 - How our future depends on a girl at this decisive age

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Shelter From the Storm: A transformative agenda for women and girls in a crisis-prone world

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This report presents the findings of the qualitative and quantitative assessment of the
mechanisms leading to the skewed sex ratios at birth in Azerbaijani population. The
study was held by UNFPA Azerbaijan Country Office and the State Committee for
Family, Women and Children’s Affairs in 2012. In addition to being the first initiative
exclusively dedicated to the exploration of the prevalence rates and major causes
of the phenomenon of sex selection abortions, the present report provides the
series of recommendations to guide the respective state intervention to address the issue.
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Pursuant to paragraph 5.2.7.3 of the State Program on “Poverty
Reduction and Sustainable Development in the Republic of
Azerbaijan for 2008-2015”, approved by the Decree № 3043 of
the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, dated September 15,
2008, the State Statistical Committee of the Republic of
Azerbaijan conducted sample statistical survey on violence against the person
between the dates of 2-20 September 2013 across the urban and rural areas of all
regions of the country aimed at obtaining detailed information about the violence
against the person.
The report contains the information on preparation, conduction, and analysis of the
results of the sample statistical survey on violence against the person.
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In 1994 the international community agreed that when women and girls get the education they deserve,
societies become more productive; when their rights are protected, societies become more just; and when they
are empowered to make choices to determine their own future, societies become much stronger. Since then, many
actors in both the local and international arena including governments, national human rights institutions, and UN
agencies, with UNFPA taking a leading role, have tenaciously strived to translate the Cairo framework1 into action;
to foster meaningful and sustainable changes for ensuring improved protection and promotion of human rights of
the women and girls worldwide.
However, despite these efforts, many women are still deprived of the opportunity to enjoy their sexual and
reproductive rights, which constitute an inalienable component of the highest attainable standard of health and
well-being. These rights have long been overlooked given the complex interplay of individual, institutional and
structural factors depriving women of the opportunity to make informed decisions concerning their sexuality as
well as exposing them to otherwise avoidable risks of mortality and morbidity.
Given that the country’s human rights record on sexual and reproductive health and rights has been of
concern, the UNFPA Azerbaijan Country Office joined efforts with the Office of the Commissioner for Human
Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan to conduct an assessment of the implementation status of
treaty body recommendations on sexual and reproductive health and rights. It is expected that the findings of this
study will enormously contribute to strengthening respective advocacy strategies with Government partners, civil
society and other allies to advance the protection and promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights. The
support provided by the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan prof. Elmira
Suleymanova throughout all stages of the project is particularly acknowledged.
It should be acknowledged that the present report has immensely benefited from the support of many
institutions and experts.
The assessment document was developed by the international consultant on human rights and sexual and
reproductive health, Judith Bueno de Mesquita and the national experts Parvana Bayramova and Rashid Rumzada
who collected the necessary data and information for the research as well as provided important insights during
data analysis.
Special thanks are due to Alfonso Barragues, Technical Advisor on Human Rights and Ida Krogh Mikkelsen,
Programme Analyst from the Gender, Human Rights and Culture Branch, both of the United Nations Population
Fund, for reviewing the drafts of the document and providing valuable advice and inputs to the report.
The contributions of the representatives of government institutions and civil society, who shared their opinions
in the course of data collection and thus significantly enriched the present report by contributing to the development
of informed policy recommendations, are also greatly acknowledged.
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