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Azerbaijan – Information for consideration by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at its 30th Session, February 2024

Equality Now, Public Union “Clean World” Aid to Women, Rovshana Rahimova, and Independent Living Center for People with Disabilities present the following information for consideration in advance of the 30th session by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) taking place between March 4 and March 22, 2024. 

Azerbaijan’s laws lack explicit protections for persons with disabilities, including for women and girls survivors of sexual violence. The legislation in Azerbaijan lacks a consent-based definition of rape contrary to international standards, in particular those developed by the CEDAW Committee. Azerbaijan has yet to ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention.

Additionally, inadequate implementation and enforcement of legal frameworks in relation to sexual violence remain a problem. Burdensome evidentiary standards, including the requirement for physical injuries and biological evidence, hinder prosecution in cases of sexual violence, especially for victims with disabilities. Patriarchal attitudes among law enforcement and judicial officials contribute to underreporting, and the lack of gender-sensitive protocols leads to the retraumatization of survivors.