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Call for Signature - Petition on Widowhood Discrimination to the CEDAW Committee

Call for Signatures of Support
Presentation to UN CEDAW Committee
    Advocacy for CEDAW Committee Consideration of General Recommendation on Widows CEDAW Committee Website on General Recommendations:

    The UN CEDAW Committee makes Recommendations on any issue affecting women to which it believes the States parties should devote more attention.

      Call for Presence at CEDAW Widows Discrimination Presentation:
      Monday, February 1, 2010
      Palais Des Nations,
      Geneva Switzerland
      13:30 - 14:30 p..m.
      Contact for Details & Reservation:

      Petition for CEDAW Committee on Discrimination Against Widows and CEDAW General Recommendation

      Background: Across a wide spectrum of regions, religions, cultures, caste and class, irrespective of age or economic status, WIDOWS experience many diverse forms of discrimination and abuse in every aspect of their lives. Even when State Parties, who have ratified the UN CEDAW Convention, have legislated to comply with its articles, widows find their lives still determined by interpretations of customary and traditional law that directly contravene it. In particular, widows are often deprived of rights to inheritance, land and property; custody of their children; are deprived of mobility, and may be oppressed by harmful traditional practices relating to remarriage, burial and mourning practices. Widows are not mentioned in the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA); furthermore it is rare for State Parties to refer to the situation of widows in their reporting processes. However, with the unprecedented increase in the numbers of widows of all ages, especially among the young (due to armed conflict and ethnic cleansing); and in view of the poverty and violence many experience, as well as the heavy responsibilities of their roles as sole supporters of dependents, WPD believes it is time for the CEDAW to request State Parties to address this neglected issue.

      Action: The aims of Widows for Peace Through Democracy - WPD, invited by the CEDAW to present on this neglected gender/human rights subject, is to persuade the Committee to consider developing a General Recommendation to States Parties to address this issue. There is a scarcity of information on widowhood. Therefore it is essential that governments gather statistics. They should be asked to identify and address the types of discrimination widows experience, both within their families and communities and in society at large, through State omissions or commissions. State Parties should be asked to focus on the extreme poverty and marginalisation of widows due to discrimination in inheritance, land and property rights, and also on the high incidence of violence, physical, psychological and sexual, experienced by widows, due to their low personal status.

      Why WIDOWHOOD DISCRIMINATION ISSUES are important: The poverty and low status of widows is a cross-cutting theme, both in the CEDAW and in the BPFA. Widows’ low status affects the whole of society and its future. This discrimination and marginalisation impacts negatively on their children who are often made homeless and deprived of education, making them vulnerable to economic and sexual exploitation, and entrapment in prostitution, crime and even terrorism. In particular, in conflict and post-conflict scenarios, widows, many struggling to survive as IDPs and Refugees, need special support so they can participate fully in peace-building and reconstruction.

      Reply Requested by January 25, 2010

      Support for Widowhood Discrimination Petition for CEDAW Committee and CEDAW General Recommendation on Discrimination Against Widows