How we work
At the Grassroots
Widows for Peace Through Democracy (WPD) acts as an ‘umbrella organisation’ for widows’ organisations worldwide.
We have a particular focus on widows in fragile and conflict afflicted countries – working with partner organisations worldwide to empower widows in regions where discrimination and abuse is prevalent.
We support the establishment of national federations of widows’ associations, partnering with them to exchange information and give widows and ‘half widows’ (wives of the missing and forcibly disappeared) a strong ‘voice’ at local, national and international levels.
With the United Nations (UN)
Our invaluable work for widows’ rights has gained our charity ECOSOC consultative status at the UN, which allows us to participate fully in the UN system by attending UN sessions, submitting questions, and holding UN side events in our own name.
We provide regular reports on the human rights status of widows in particular countries to the Committee of the hugely influential Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) – the UN legal charter protecting women’s rights.
WPD’s latest submission, our ‘dossier’ containing extensive evidence of discrimination against widows worldwide, asks CEDAW to develop what is known as a General Recommendation (GR) specifically protecting widows’ rights. This would make every State reporting to CEDAW accountable for any failure to address such discrimination.
With Governments and Regions
Although in many countries widows’ rights are protected by legislation, individual widows are often unable to access the justice system for reasons including fear of violence, illiteracy, lack of documentation, corruption, cost, language barriers, geographical remoteness, and precedence of tradition, custom and religion over even reformed laws.
We work in partnership with NGOs, lawyers and governing bodies worldwide to influence and monitor the development and implementation of laws protecting widows’ rights, for which purpose our Widows’ Charter provides detailed recommendations and leverage.
Helping to secure a widow’s ownership and/or control of assets, particularly property, is a vital factor protecting individuals from poverty and discrimination, as in many countries customary or religious ‘law’ is claimed by a dead husband’s relatives to justify evicting a widow from her marital home and seizing her land, property, or even her own children.