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BPW International

Making a Difference Through Leadership and Action.

Parallel Event on Rural Widowhood, Wednesday,February 29th, 2012; Boss Room, Church Centre, 2.30 pm - 4.00pm

To: UN, International Community, Governments, and CEDAW

  • Appoint a Special Representative on Widowhood (in Conflict Zones)
  • Commission a Special Report on Widowhood in Developing/Conflict afflicted countries
  • UN Women should establish a special section to address widowhood issues in context of human rights/VAW/poverty reduction/conflict resolution and peace building
  • Adopt a UN Resolution on Widowhood
  • Acknowledge rural widows as sub-sect of women experiencing special forms of abuse that require specific  responses and remedies
  • Support widows' groups through resources for their empowerment, and fill gap in data
  • Acknowledge that abuse of rural widows of all ages is one of root causes of poverty, hunger, homelessness and GBV
  • Address the impact of rural widowhood on the girl child
  • Address widow-abuse as a major issue in combating GBV

 

To: Governments and UN WOMEN

  • Mainstream widowhood issues in all gender/equality/Human Rights policies and laws
  • Ensure implementation of International and modern laws to eliminate discrimination against widows take precedence over discriminatory customs and traditions
  • Criminalise discriminatory and abusive practices perpetrated against widows
  • Provide for all land registrations to be in wives' names as well as husbands'
  • Prohibit "land grabbing" by multinationals and industry, or "gifts" of land to political allies, where such land could be available to women heads of households.
  • Support widows' to "band together" to form their own associations so as to have:

. a collective voice to articulate needs and describe roles
. fill gap in data through "mapping and profiling" themselves
. access literacy, education, training, services, justice
. be represented in appropriate decision-making committees
. be consulted, and contribute to strategies to implement


To: CEDAW; BPFA; UN SCR 1325; MDGs

  • Criminalise actions that deprive widows of their inheritance, property, and land rights: such as "chasing-off" and "property-grabbing"
  • Criminalise coercion of HTPs including harmful and degrading mourning and burial rites
  • Develop special "land allocation" schemes, and registration of title  to ensure rural widows can own and cultivate land for food security
  • Develop extension services and income-generating strategies that will enable rural widows to remain in their villages
  • Devise systems to ensure widows enjoy pensions, social security and micro- credit
  • Identify economic and sexual exploitation of widows and their daughters in rural areas and as migrants to urban centers
  • Protect widows from physical, sexual, and psychological violence.
  • Address the specific needs for resettlement and rehabilitation of conflict widows in IDP and refugee camps
  • Use all means to remove stereotyping and stigma of widowhood.

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