Selective abortions again cause uproar in Azerbaijan

UN: Azerbaijan has the second highest sex-ratio imbalance in the world

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Over the course of the first six months of 2017, the births of 68,885 children were recorded in Azerbaijan. According to data from the State Statistics Committee (SSC), 53% of children born were male, while only 47% female.

The SSC of Azerbaijan reports that from the beginning of 2017, the population of the country grew by 40,096 (0.4%) culminating in a total of 9,850,077 people.

The lack of balance in the number of male and female newborns is not news in Azerbaijan. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFP), the country has the second highest

sex-ratio imbalance

in the world.

The head of the Information and Analytical Department of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Issues, Elgun Safarov, commented on the issue:

“The increase in the number of newborn males compared to females comes from existing stereotypes in society. This is connected to the fact that in Azerbaijani families, the priority is placed on boys. Such families must be prevented from practicing sex-selective abortion by educating them,” said Safarov to Salamnews.

“In order to start the fight with sex-selective abortions, we must add the according Article into the Criminal Codex of the country,” he believes.

The stereotypes in Azerbaijani society surrounding gender are not limited in their influence to sex-selective abortions.

At the end of July in the Lankaran region of Azerbaijan, the horrifying murder of six-day-old Malak Nurullayeva took place. Her grandmother Atifa stabbed the child with needles and pins and threw her into a well.

Atifa later said she was going to blame the murder on genies.

“I didn’t want a second daughter, I wanted a boy. I thought that everyone would believe me, that the murder had been committed by genies. Then I had doubts. For that reason I took the child and threw her into the well in the courtyard,”



This case was cause for a stormy discussion in Azerbaijan: many on social media blamed the father of the girl, but for now the grandmother has been detained as the main suspect. The trial will commence in three-months’ time.

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