The Women Law And Development Initiative (WOLDI) urged Government at all levels to take steps in ensuring the rights of widows and their needs are enshrined in the international and domestic laws to eliminate any forms of discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). WOLDI made these remarks in commemoration of Widows Day celebration in Abuja.
According to the Founder/Executive Director, Barrister Hauwa Shekarau, “Government Policies and Programs should be directed at eradicating violence against Widows and their children, poverty alleviation, education, free access to justice and other supports, must be undertaken within the context of action plans to accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Adding, “WOLDI and it’s partners around the world are proud to join hands with the United Nations by restating their commitment to ensuring that Widows have access to justice and are free from every form of discrimination against them and their children.
“We recognise the unique importance and value of widows within our society, and are dedicated to ensuring that their rights, needs and voices are heard around the world.
“WOLDI therefore calls on the Government at all levels, Public and Private Organisations, media houses and the general public to join in the fight to eliminate all forms of discrimination against widows and their children, alleviate poverty, and also, elevate the standard of living of widows and their families in Nigeria.
“The right group noted that WOLDI was always ready to welcome every case of discrimination against widows and their children, stressing their doors are always opened and ready to listen and fight for their rights.
“The Executive Director who is also the Chairperson Nigerian Bar Association Abuja branch disclosed that There is, currently around the world, an estimated 258 million widows and the number is on the increase in light of the current corona virus pandemic that’s ravaging the planet and occasioning devastating human loss, likely to render a lot of women new widows.
“Asides the pandemic, most widows around the world have been subjected to diverse forms of harmful traditional practices, victimisation, discrimination and abuse. These vices are regularly on the increase, especially in the developing societies such as Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria in particular.
“The corona pandemic and the attendant lock downs and economic closures that has afflicted the world today has wroth untold hardship on Widows; most of whom have no access to pensions, family support, healthcare or even basic necessities to support themselves and their children.
“The voices, needs and experiences of these Widows are often suppressed and absent from government and societal policies that are likely to impact on their survival.”
She further observed that there is need for pensions and social protection that are not based on marital status alone;
Decent work and equal pay; and
Education and training opportunities that will empower widows to support themselves and their families by addressing social stigmas that create exclusion, and discriminatory or harmful practices.
Every 23rd day of June every year has been set aside by the United Nations, by virtue of Resolution A/RES/65/189, as “International Widows Day” to draw attention to the voices and experiences of widows and to galvanise the unique support that they need.