Founding Editor: Shafqat Munir   

Protect inheritance and human rights of widows, wives of missing persons: SANWED 

29 Junie 2012 07:12:43

 

Protect inheritance and human rights of widows, wives of missing persons: SANWED
The South Asian Network for Widows’ Empowerment and Development (SANWED), with Widows for Peace through Democracy (WPD-International Focal organization for SANWED), have demanded elimination of all forms of discrimination, abuse and violence facing widows and wives of missing persons to protect and uphold their human rights. They urged the need to enact laws to provide and protect widows’ right to inherit and exercise control over their husbands’ property,
The members of SANWED from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka through a joint declaration at the end of a two-day South Asia regional workshop, called upon reducing widows’ poverty and accord them due recognition and support them in their pivotal roles in families, communities and societies. They called upon SAARC to effectively implement Article 32 of the Colombo Declaration, recognize and endorse the global Charter for the Rights of Widows, formulate a Regional Policy on Widowhood, to be adapted as a National Policy by each Member State; and to recognize and accord official consultative status to SANWED.
They call upon SAARC and our respective Governments to ensure that rights of widows are mainstreamed in regional and national policies and programmes through consultation with SANWED and national associations/federations of widows in each member country within the national and global frameworks of gender equality, development and peace such as CEDAW, Vienna Declaration on Human Rights, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Copenhagen Declaration of the World Summit on Social Development, UNSCRs 1325 &1820, the MDGs for 2015 and the National Action Plans.
The declaration urged all SAARC Governments to compile, maintain and regularly update databases on widows and their dependents, for the purpose of registration of widows for national identity cards, passports, licenses, social security, pension, compensation, health and education benefits, workers’ benefits, employment and training opportunities. It demanded of the Governments to enact laws to provide and protect widows’ right to inherit and exercise control over their husbands’ property, land and assets, irrespective of customary traditions and unjustly sanctified injunctions seeking to minimize or limit widows’ share in inheritance.
The declaration demanded of the respective Governments to provide widows, particularly in conflict-areas, access to justice through repeal of discriminatory laws; through the criminalization and prosecution of war crimes and other atrocities. It called upon the Governments to enact legislation to criminalize forced marriages of widows either within or outside their marital families, trafficking, forced prostitution and sex slavery; and to recognize and protect widows’ right to choose to marry or not.
***
Full Text of the Islamabad Declaration
On the Needs, Roles and Rights of Widows
Two-day SANWED Consultative Workshop in Islamabad, Pakistan
23-24 May 2012
We, the members of South Asian Network for Widows’ Empowerment and Development (SANWED) from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, with Widows for Peace through Democracy (International Focal organization for SANWED), agree to adopt the following declaration during the SANWED’s South Asian Consultative Workshop on “Mainstreaming Rights of Widows and Single Women in Public Policy”, held in Islamabad, Pakistan on 23-24 May 2012, in collaboration with Aurat Foundation, Pakistan.
Recognizing the critical importance of issues pertaining to women  who are single,  divorced, never married, abandoned, or are spouses of missing/enforced disappeared persons, we are, nevertheless, focusing on the needs and rights of widows in this Declaration;
Reaffirming our commitment to our goal for a world in which all widows irrespective of age, ethnicity, religion, class or political allegiance, enjoy their full human rights, live with dignity without any form of discrimination;
Reaffirming our strong commitment, solidarity and integrity to fearlessly express and preserve our unity in pursuance of our common goals for the empowerment of widows;
Asserting that widows across the region must not be seen exclusively as poor, elderly, vulnerable and needy but as key players with important roles in social and economic development building and should be recognized as effective agents of change;
Noting also that widows have unique roles as peace builders and peace makers, through their ability to link hands with widows across ethnic, religious, political and national divides:  all of them sharing common experiences of discrimination and abuse, and united in their hopes for peace, justice, and good governance;
Recognizing that widowhood, as a consequence of armed conflict, insurrection, enforced disappearances, and natural disasters, is one of the root causes of poverty to be addressed through implementation of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals)
Recognizing that human rights of widows, their equality and access to justice are core components of democracy, socio-economic development and peace in the region;
Noting that there is no special reference to discrimination and abuse of widows in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions1325 and 1820, Beijing Platform for Action and Convention of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; Endorsing the recommendations and demands of the Charter for the Rights of Widows (2005), the ICW Johannesburg Resolution (2009), the Kathmandu Widows’ Declaration (2011), and the Delhi Recommendations (2011);
We commit to work together to eliminate all forms of discrimination, abuse and violence facing widows and wives of missing persons to protect and uphold their human rights; reduce their poverty and accord them due recognition and support them in their pivotal roles in families, communities and societies.
We commit to take forward our efforts for widows’ empowerment from the SANWED platform as a registered regional  network  with the Secretariat  in Kathmandu,  Nepal,  and  with Widows  for  Peace through Democracy (WPD), United Kingdom as its international focal point.
We call upon SAARC to effectively implement Article 32 of the Colombo Declaration, recognize and endorse the global Charter for the Rights of Widows, formulate a Regional Policy on Widowhood, to be adapted as a National Policy by each Member State; and to recognize and accord official consultative status to SANWED.
We call upon SAARC and our respective Governments to ensure that rights of widows are mainstreamed in regional and national policies and programmes through consultation with SANWED and national associations/federations of widows in each member country within the national and global frameworks of gender equality, development and peace such as CEDAW, Vienna Declaration on Human Rights, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Copenhagen Declaration of the World Summit on Social Development, UNSCRs 1325 &1820, the MDGs for 2015 and the National Action Plans.
We call upon SAARC, our respective Governments and UN to take urgent steps towards the eradication of absolute poverty and promote regional demilitarization, peace-making and peace-building, both intra- and inter-country, with the active and effective participation of widows in all decision-making fora and processes.
We call upon our respective Governments to compile, maintain and regularly update databases on widows and their dependents, for the purpose of registration of widows for national identity cards, passports, licenses, social security, pension, compensation, health and education benefits, workers’ benefits, employment and training opportunities.
We call upon our respective Governments to ratify the Optional Protocol to CEDAW and to incorporate the situation of widows in their regular reports to the UN/CSW on CEDAW implementation; and to the UN/HRC/UPR, as per CEDAW Articles 2 and 16. We also call for progress reports on the situation of widows  at  each  successive  SAARC  Summit  as  per  Article  32  on  widows  of  SAARC/Colombo Declaration.
We demand of our respective Governments to enact laws to provide and protect widows’ right to inherit and exercise control over their husbands’ property, land and assets, irrespective of customary traditions and unjustly sanctified injunctions seeking to minimize or limit widows’ share in inheritance.
We demand of our respective Governments to provide widows, particularly in conflict-areas, access to justice through repeal of discriminatory laws; through the criminalization and prosecution of war crimes and other atrocities.
We demand of our respective Governments to enact legislation to criminalize forced marriages of widows either within or outside their marital families, trafficking, forced prostitution and sex slavery; and to recognize and protect widows’ right to choose to marry or not.
We demand of our respective Governments to provide special support to the widows in the case of infection with HIV/AIDS to allow them to fulfil this role fully.
We call upon SAARC and our respective Governments to facilitate, promote and provide support for the setting up of widows’ associations and networks at all national, state/provincial and local levels, with linkages to the regional SANWED network.
We call upon the United Nations, International and Bilateral Organizations to:
Recognize widows as a Special Category in the Cross-Cutting Issues and Thematic Groups for integration and mainstreaming of concerns;
Appoint a Special Rapporteur on widowhood;
Commission a Special Report on the situation of widows in conflict and post-conflict situations;
Formulate  a  General  Recommendation  on  widowhood  for  States  Parties  by  CSW/CEDAW Committee to identify and address the situation of widows;
Initiate and respond to SANWED  reports  requesting for  enquiry process  by CSW/CEDAW Committee on widowhood under Article 8 of Optional Protocol;
Establish a special unit focusing on widows’ issues at the UN Women level for coordination and advocacy and; to extend support with adequate financial and technical resources to SANWED
and its national chapters;
Ensure that the issues of widowhood are incorporated and integrated into their policy-making, planning, programming, and funding exercises, at all tiers of the UN system.

Protect inheritance and human rights of widows, wives of missing persons: SANWED


The South Asian Network for Widows’ Empowerment and Development (SANWED), with Widows for Peace through Democracy (WPD-International Focal organization for SANWED), have demanded elimination of all forms of discrimination, abuse and violence facing widows and wives of missing persons to protect and uphold their human rights. They urged the need to enact laws to provide and protect widows’ right to inherit and exercise control over their husbands’ property,
The members of SANWED from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka through a joint declaration at the end of a two-day South Asia regional workshop, called upon reducing widows’ poverty and accord them due recognition and support them in their pivotal roles in families, communities and societies. They called upon SAARC to effectively implement Article 32 of the Colombo Declaration, recognize and endorse the global Charter for the Rights of Widows, formulate a Regional Policy on Widowhood, to be adapted as a National Policy by each Member State; and to recognize and accord official consultative status to SANWED.
They call upon SAARC and our respective Governments to ensure that rights of widows are mainstreamed in regional and national policies and programmes through consultation with SANWED and national associations/federations of widows in each member country within the national and global frameworks of gender equality, development and peace such as CEDAW, Vienna Declaration on Human Rights, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Copenhagen Declaration of the World Summit on Social Development, UNSCRs 1325 &1820, the MDGs for 2015 and the National Action Plans.
The declaration urged all SAARC Governments to compile, maintain and regularly update databases on widows and their dependents, for the purpose of registration of widows for national identity cards, passports, licenses, social security, pension, compensation, health and education benefits, workers’ benefits, employment and training opportunities. It demanded of the Governments to enact laws to provide and protect widows’ right to inherit and exercise control over their husbands’ property, land and assets, irrespective of customary traditions and unjustly sanctified injunctions seeking to minimize or limit widows’ share in inheritance.
The declaration demanded of the respective Governments to provide widows, particularly in conflict-areas, access to justice through repeal of discriminatory laws; through the criminalization and prosecution of war crimes and other atrocities. It called upon the Governments to enact legislation to criminalize forced marriages of widows either within or outside their marital families, trafficking, forced prostitution and sex slavery; and to recognize and protect widows’ right to choose to marry or not.
***Full Text of the Islamabad Declaration
On the Needs, Roles and Rights of Widows
Two-day SANWED Consultative Workshop in Islamabad, Pakistan23-24 May 2012
We, the members of South Asian Network for Widows’ Empowerment and Development (SANWED) from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, with Widows for Peace through Democracy (International Focal organization for SANWED), agree to adopt the following declaration during the SANWED’s South Asian Consultative Workshop on “Mainstreaming Rights of Widows and Single Women in Public Policy”, held in Islamabad, Pakistan on 23-24 May 2012, in collaboration with Aurat Foundation, Pakistan.
Recognizing the critical importance of issues pertaining to women  who are single,  divorced, never married, abandoned, or are spouses of missing/enforced disappeared persons, we are, nevertheless, focusing on the needs and rights of widows in this Declaration;
Reaffirming our commitment to our goal for a world in which all widows irrespective of age, ethnicity, religion, class or political allegiance, enjoy their full human rights, live with dignity without any form of discrimination;
Reaffirming our strong commitment, solidarity and integrity to fearlessly express and preserve our unity in pursuance of our common goals for the empowerment of widows;
Asserting that widows across the region must not be seen exclusively as poor, elderly, vulnerable and needy but as key players with important roles in social and economic development building and should be recognized as effective agents of change;
Noting also that widows have unique roles as peace builders and peace makers, through their ability to link hands with widows across ethnic, religious, political and national divides:  all of them sharing common experiences of discrimination and abuse, and united in their hopes for peace, justice, and good governance;
Recognizing that widowhood, as a consequence of armed conflict, insurrection, enforced disappearances, and natural disasters, is one of the root causes of poverty to be addressed through implementation of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals)
Recognizing that human rights of widows, their equality and access to justice are core components of democracy, socio-economic development and peace in the region;
Noting that there is no special reference to discrimination and abuse of widows in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions1325 and 1820, Beijing Platform for Action and Convention of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; Endorsing the recommendations and demands of the Charter for the Rights of Widows (2005), the ICW Johannesburg Resolution (2009), the Kathmandu Widows’ Declaration (2011), and the Delhi Recommendations (2011);
We commit to work together to eliminate all forms of discrimination, abuse and violence facing widows and wives of missing persons to protect and uphold their human rights; reduce their poverty and accord them due recognition and support them in their pivotal roles in families, communities and societies.
We commit to take forward our efforts for widows’ empowerment from the SANWED platform as a registered regional  network  with the Secretariat  in Kathmandu,  Nepal,  and  with Widows  for  Peace through Democracy (WPD), United Kingdom as its international focal point.
We call upon SAARC to effectively implement Article 32 of the Colombo Declaration, recognize and endorse the global Charter for the Rights of Widows, formulate a Regional Policy on Widowhood, to be adapted as a National Policy by each Member State; and to recognize and accord official consultative status to SANWED.
We call upon SAARC and our respective Governments to ensure that rights of widows are mainstreamed in regional and national policies and programmes through consultation with SANWED and national associations/federations of widows in each member country within the national and global frameworks of gender equality, development and peace such as CEDAW, Vienna Declaration on Human Rights, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Copenhagen Declaration of the World Summit on Social Development, UNSCRs 1325 &1820, the MDGs for 2015 and the National Action Plans.
We call upon SAARC, our respective Governments and UN to take urgent steps towards the eradication of absolute poverty and promote regional demilitarization, peace-making and peace-building, both intra- and inter-country, with the active and effective participation of widows in all decision-making fora and processes.
We call upon our respective Governments to compile, maintain and regularly update databases on widows and their dependents, for the purpose of registration of widows for national identity cards, passports, licenses, social security, pension, compensation, health and education benefits, workers’ benefits, employment and training opportunities.
We call upon our respective Governments to ratify the Optional Protocol to CEDAW and to incorporate the situation of widows in their regular reports to the UN/CSW on CEDAW implementation; and to the UN/HRC/UPR, as per CEDAW Articles 2 and 16. We also call for progress reports on the situation of widows  at  each  successive  SAARC  Summit  as  per  Article  32  on  widows  of  SAARC/Colombo Declaration.
We demand of our respective Governments to enact laws to provide and protect widows’ right to inherit and exercise control over their husbands’ property, land and assets, irrespective of customary traditions and unjustly sanctified injunctions seeking to minimize or limit widows’ share in inheritance.
We demand of our respective Governments to provide widows, particularly in conflict-areas, access to justice through repeal of discriminatory laws; through the criminalization and prosecution of war crimes and other atrocities.
We demand of our respective Governments to enact legislation to criminalize forced marriages of widows either within or outside their marital families, trafficking, forced prostitution and sex slavery; and to recognize and protect widows’ right to choose to marry or not.
We demand of our respective Governments to provide special support to the widows in the case of infection with HIV/AIDS to allow them to fulfil this role fully.
We call upon SAARC and our respective Governments to facilitate, promote and provide support for the setting up of widows’ associations and networks at all national, state/provincial and local levels, with linkages to the regional SANWED network.
We call upon the United Nations, International and Bilateral Organizations to:
Recognize widows as a Special Category in the Cross-Cutting Issues and Thematic Groups for integration and mainstreaming of concerns;• Appoint a Special Rapporteur on widowhood;• Commission a Special Report on the situation of widows in conflict and post-conflict situations;• Formulate  a  General  Recommendation  on  widowhood  for  States  Parties  by  CSW/CEDAW Committee to identify and address the situation of widows;• Initiate and respond to SANWED  reports  requesting for  enquiry process  by CSW/CEDAW Committee on widowhood under Article 8 of Optional Protocol;• Establish a special unit focusing on widows’ issues at the UN Women level for coordination and advocacy and; to extend support with adequate financial and technical resources to SANWEDand its national chapters;• Ensure that the issues of widowhood are incorporated and integrated into their policy-making, planning, programming, and funding exercises, at all tiers of the UN system.