UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid (L) chairs a General Assembly meeting at the UN headquarters in New York on 15 March. (Loey Felipe/UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua)

UN General Assembly adopts resolution to uphold rights of widows

On 15 March, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted “Addressing the Situation of Widows,” the first-ever UN resolution on widowhood by consensus.

The Global Fund for Widows explains: "In some parts of the world, widows experience human rights violations and harmful practices such as disinheritance and institutional discrimination that limits their ability to access justice, decent work, and social protections. Some widows also endure degrading harmful practices such as levirate – forced remarriage to an in-law – and other forms of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.

"This resolution aims to provide Member States with specific and actionable steps to draw awareness to, mainstream, legitimize and protect the rights of widows within the United Nations system and at home, and includes calls for enhanced data collection, registration of all marriages in order to provide women with legal and social protections in the event of widowhood, condemn and prevent violence incurred by widows, among other components directly tied to the advancement of women and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

"The text also envisions widows as powerful actors in the communities and countries, acknowledging their economic contributions and need for financial inclusion as well as calling for their full, equal, and meaningful participation in peacebuilding and recovery discussions, a move that will strengthen the inclusivity and equity within societies to build lasting and sustainable peace."

15 MARCH 2022