16-year-old schoolboy subject to bullying in Azerbaijan cannot find protection
Azerbaijani schoolboy bullied for his orientation
16-year-old Ali Melikov, who is receiving, or rather trying to get an education in one of Baku’s schools, posted information on social media that he has been subjected to bullying for many years. LGTBQ+ teenagers face difficulties in attending schools in Azerbaijan. According to Ali, despite all the complaints, no measures have been taken to protect him.
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Despite his rather young age, Ali Melikov is the author of the first of its kind research on the life of LGBTQ+ people in the regions of Azerbaijan. This research was published by JAMnews.
Trying to fight the bullying that he has been subjected to since the eighth grade of school, Ali Melikov often goes out into the corridor of the educational institution with caution. According to him, peers poke fun at him there, and on the street, they try to use physical force against him.
Because of his orientation, teachers tear his notebooks, lower his grades, and humiliate him. The last straw was that classmates scattered his belongings all over the office at the school.
Ali says he contacted the headmaster of the school, but he barely reacted to what was happening. A psychologist was recruited for the “problem” student through the “Schoolboy’s Friend” project. After Ali told the psychologist about what was happening around him, the specialist advised not to pay attention, because “they would not change”.
After that, another psychologist, representing the country’s Ministry of Education, was involved in resolving the issue. But the specialist was not told about Ali’s orientation and was only asked to transfer the student to online education.
Police reports and letter from the Ombudsman
After all this, Ali Melikov, currently studying in the 11th grade of a secondary school, refused to attend the educational institution. Together with his lawyer Zibeyda Sadigova, he filed a complaint with the police. They promised to ensure his safety there, but no changes have occurred since then.
Ali says that after everything that happened, instead of ensuring his safety, on the contrary, bullies began to pay even more attention to him and the pressure increased.
Along with contacting the police, Ali also wrote a statement to the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs. In response to his appeal to the Ombudsman, the student only received a letter.
“Ali wants to fight back”
Psychologist Aysel Budag, with whom Ali Melikov is undergoing a rehabilitation course, notes that everything that happens has a strong impact on the psyche of the student.
“Ali wants to fight back. But what he has gone through could have manifested itself in a completely different form. He is a strong boy and does everything he can – he illuminates this issue with available means. This is the most correct reaction.
The fact that none of the responsible persons `are particularly interested in the issue leads to even greater public attention to Ali, he is becoming famous. For this reason, he may feel insecure. Everyone knows about his personal life.
But this situation can also create a panic mood. Ali is only 16 years old and he is at the age when his personality is being formed.
What he has experienced can seriously affect his development, leave trauma. Ali does not feel safe in the country of which he is a citizen, he does not have a right to education. There is no reaction from those to whom he addressed, and this circumstance can have a damaging effect on the student of the 11th grade.
If he feels lonely and defenseless, his psychological state can be seriously affected”, Aysel Budag said.
According to Kamran Asadov, an expert in the field of education, every citizen has the right to receive education. It is unacceptable to discriminate against people because of their religion, gender, race, or sexual orientation.
“Harassment, pressure on students because of their biological characteristics or orientation is unforgivable. It is impossible, for any reason, to infringe upon the right of citizens to receive education. If a student has a problem at school, then the school psychologist should take care of it.
Society is for everyone. Everyone has their place. I oppose discrimination against children, subjecting them to bullying in schools. Everyone must be treated with tolerance, you cannot interfere with people’s personal lives.
If a person comes to an educational institution in a school uniform, the law does not allow anyone to interfere with their education. But if for some reason a person cannot receive a traditional education, they should be offered an alternative. This can only be done with the child’s consent. If the physical and mental behavior of the student does not interfere with the lesson, the student’s right to education should not be limited”.