UNDP RR's Opening remarks at the Presentation of joint UNDP-IOM Research Report
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Representatives of Government Entities, International Community, Civil Society, Experts and Media:
A fundamental characteristic of people is their movement from place to place. The right to move was recognized globally over a half century ago with the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration states in Article 13 that “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state” and “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” As noted in the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, orderly international migration can have positive impacts on both the communities of origin and the communities of destination. Migration also has the potential of facilitating the transfer of skills and contributing to cultural enrichment. Today the number of people residing outside their country of birth is at an all-time high of about 175 million, more than double the number a generation ago. The vast majority of migrants are making meaningful contributions to their host countries. At the same time, however, international migration entails the loss of human resources for many countries of origin and may give rise to political, economic or social tensions in countries of destination. International migration, with its intricate web of demographic, social, economic and political determinants and consequences, is a topic that has moved to the forefront of national and international agenda.
Migration for work and livelihood historically made families move from their home land to destination countries. Often, it was the men who migrated for work, with women staying behind. What effect does the migration of men have on the traditional gender roles in society? Is it an empowering experience for women? Or does it lead to a backlash of traditional mind set about ‘women’s place’ in the household and a reinforcement of existing gender roles?
In search of answers to these queries, UNDP and IOM conducted a research targeting family members, particularly, spouses of migrants staying behind in Azerbaijan in 2012-2013. Today, we are here to present the findings of this research to your attention.
We believe the findings of the research can be of interest to the central and local authorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Parliamentarians, representatives of communities of the Azerbaijani Diaspora, International Organizations and all stakeholders aiming or standing ready to improve the development opportunities, rights and social protection of migrants’ spouses and families staying behind in this country.
The research provides a set of recommendations in order to address the negative impact of Azerbaijani husbands’ migration abroad for economic income and to overcome difficult situations encountered by the women and other family members staying behind.
Now, allow me to give the floor to IOM colleague Mr. Serhan Aktoprak, who will introduce to you the key findings of the survey.