The International Federation of University Women is pleased to announce the winner of the 2012 Human Rights Fellowship, dedicated to the memory of its long-term member and representative to the United Nations, Conchita Poncini Jimenez, a distinguished and determined advocate for the human rights of women.
The Fellowship was offered to a woman activist or scholar who, having a history of engagement with human rights issues, wished to increase her commitment by a project of research, study or internship that would promote the use of human rights instruments and agreements for the advancement of women and girls and the protection of their human rights.
The Federation received over one hundred and forty applications from women of forty-eight different nationalities and the awarding Committee was almost overwhelmed by the task of selecting one single application from among the great variety of excellent proposals put forward. Nonetheless the final unanimous decision was to make the award to Bahija Alvan Aliyeva, a lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Psychology at Baku State University of Azerbaijan, for her independent research project “Skewed sex ratio at birth in Azerbaijan: de-jure protection of a woman’s right to bodily integrity versus de-facto misuse of abortions for the purposes of sex selection.” Ms Aliyeva has acted for several years as a gender program analyst for the United Nation Population Fund in Azerbaijan.
The citation for the award, prepared by the international expert on human rights, Eileen Fegan, reads:
The judging panel agreed that the proposed research on how reproductive rights for women are misused for the purpose of sex selection, with serious implications for the future male to female population ratio, was highly relevant to the intended purposes of the CPJ Fellowship. Ms. Aliyeva’s study will draw upon the aspirations of CEDAW and guarantees la id down in the Convention on Rights of the Child, exploring their potential in addressing the cultural preference for sons in Azerbaijan. The public benefit of this research extends not only to the existing and future population of Azerbaijan, but to all countries and cultures where sex selection is practiced.
The panel was deeply impressed by Ms Aliyeva’s evident commitment to human rights and her dedication to redressing women’s human rights issues in her home country. She has a sound background in the area, having studied ‘Theory and Practice of Human Rights’ at Master’s level at the University of Essex, United Kingdom, and having held a ‘Human Rights Education Internship’ at the International Association for Religious Freedom, Oxford, United Kingdom.
Her references showed that she has both the support of the UNFPA and the personal qualities needed to conduct effective research on such a sensitive cultural issue. Her expertise in employing human rights instruments to implement women’s rights was also reflected in the regard in which she is held by those working at high levels in area of women’s rights internationally.
In the field of excellent and accomplished candidates who applied for the CPJ Fellowship, Ms Aliyeva’s awareness of, and ability to initiate an inclusive and informed debate on the implications of sex selection practices on the female population worldwide, was key to the panel’s unanimous decision that the award be used to facilitate this timely and very necessary human rights study.
The Federation of University Women congratulates Ms Aliyeva and looks forward to receiving news of the outcomes of her project.
This Fellowship was financed from the Federation’s own funds and by generous donations from Conchita’s family, friends and colleagues, and IFUW members who wished to share in the commemoration of her work.
Those interesting in supporting this award can contribute by clicking on the donate button to the right.
To see a brief account of the other five short-listed candidates please click here.
International human rights instruments and agreements to protect women human rights, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), have been adopted, but much work is needed to ensure their implementation at the national and local level. The Conchita Poncini Jimenez Human Rights Fellowship has been awarded for advanced research, an internship or study related to the use of human rights instruments and agreements for the advancement of women.
To Download the announcement for redistribution please click here.
Conchita Poncini Jimenez
IFUW Representative to
the United Nations
Conchita Poncini Jimenez
International Human Rights Fellowship
Albert Rickard-Poncini on behalf of the Conchita Poncini Jimenez Family
Willilam and Leigh Bradford Ratteree