Widowhood in Swaziland

24 July – In Swaziland, discriminatory customs remain a reality for widows.

As such, we have submitted our report to assist the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Committee in considering Swaziland’s State Report during its 58th session.

Customs still in practice in Swaziland include:

  • Degrading widowhood rites and cleansing rituals
  • Enforced seclusion and long mourning periods (up to three years)
  • Procreation agreements with the deceased younger husband’s brothers
  • Being turned away from voter registration due to wearing mourning clothes
  • Not being allowed to hold office
  • Discrimination in employment

Our report highlights issues that need addressed in the context of the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

We recommend that the Government of Swaziland report on progress, and take measures to ensure equality and non-discrimination for widows in line with CEDAW. Please view our full report and recommendations here.

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