Poverty, sexual abuse behind mass suicides in Azerbaijan: experts

Poverty, sexual abuse behind mass suicides in Azerbaijan: experts

PanARMENIAN.Net - 80% of suicides in Azerbaijan are committed due to social problems. Suicide is not a solution, with problems to be resolved through fighting for one’s rights, participants of the Feb 12 hearings, organized by the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF), believe. The event was attended by politicians, human rights experts, lawyers, public figures, investigative journalists, Contact.az reported.

36 suicides have been posted in Azerbaijan since the beginning of the year. According to statistics, 138 suicides were committed in 2008; 165 in 2009; 289 in 2010; 414 in 2011; 482 in 2012. 920 suicide attempts were posted in 2013.

In 2011 there were 12 suicides in the army; in 2012 - 19, in 2013 – 16, and 4 cases were reported in January 2014.

"These figures are alarming enough. Government should wake up and act, otherwise promotion of human rights becomes a mere pretense," said the head of the National Council of Democratic Forces NCDF, Jamil Hasanli.

Psychologist Azad Isazade said that in practice, 1-2 of out 10 suicide attempts become lethal.

"If 36 people died in 2013, 350-400 suicides were attempted. Suicides are committed for two reasons - "I cannot live" or "I cannot take it any longer." In Azerbaijan even children are at risk. The other day, a third-grade student committed suicide because he could no longer stand taking care of his grandmother," said Isazade.

According to him, only 10-15 % of suicides are committed by the mentally deranged; usually, those who have social problems, especially women, commit suicides. Failing to find an outlet for their grief, people began to demonstratively self-immolate, with society indifferent to the problems of others, Isazade said.

Azerbaijani Popular Front Party (APFP) leader Ali Kerimli believes that poverty, social problems and hopelessness lead people to suicide. "The government must bear responsibility for it. But the opposition is also responsible. We, opposition, cannot even unite to bring hope to the society," Kerimli said. "The only way is to bring yourself to live and join the struggle," he said.

The participants noted that the authorities conceal the facts of suicide in the army and prisons. In 90% of cases, a criminal investigation is not carried out. "Suicides often occur in the families and the army because of sexual exploitation, with the actual reason behind it remaining concealed. In any case, lawsuits must be filed," said the head of the Islam, Democracy, Human Rights NGO and human rights activist, Aytekin Imranova.

According to experts, every year, 80-90 children commit suicide.

One of the causes of suicide is a breach of democratic freedoms, lack of justice at courts. "Due to the fact that it is not allowed to protest in a democratic way, people have resorted to desperate and demonstrative steps," said lawyer Namizad Safarov.

"The behavior of the government in connection with the self-immolation of Karabakh war veteran, Zaur Hasanov, contributed to the growth of such cases. People thought that this is a way to solve their problems. Media should not romanticize suicide and truthfully present it as an act of desperation," Azerbaijani expert Ulviya Asadzade said.

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