Refugees at Kyiv Station
Image source: – via Wikipedia

Statement by Margaret Owen OBE

Founder & President of Widows for Peace through Democracy (WPD)

2nd March 2022

‘Putin’s crimes will create millions of widows as well as “ half-widows”

The tearful goodbyes at the Kyiv station may be farewells for ever for those mothers carrying their children to safety.

The brave Ukrainian men staying behind to defend their country risk not just death, but capture, detention and disappearance into distant gulags. Yet another example of how women, rarely involved in any decision making that leads to wars, disproportionately are its victims.

Among Ukranian women, whether refugee or remaining in their invaded country, there will be millions of widows, but also “ half-widows “ – the wives of the abducted and disappeared.
The latter will need special help and counselling as they may spend years attempting, often futilely, to find out the fate of their missing partners.

It’s important that we, as we welcome these refugees, are prepared to listen to these bereaved women, give them appropriate counselling and legal representation, as we help them rebuild their lives alone without their partners…

It’s essential that their voices are heard, in any peace negotiations, and as key witnesses at future war crimes tribunals and at the ICC.’

Margaret Owen, OBE

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