House of Lords Library

International Widows’ Day

Published Tuesday, June 11, 2019

On 19 June 2019, the House of Lords is scheduled to debate a motion moved by Lord Loomba (Crossbench) that asks “Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to empower widows in developing countries and to mark International Widows Day 2019.”. This briefing provides background information on International Widows’ Day and the issues facing widowed women around the world.

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International Widows’ Day takes place on 23 June each year. A resolution to mark this day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010. The aim of International Widows’ Day is to address the issues faced by widowed women. These include the increased risk of poverty and violence and a lack of access to health care. The UN has stated:

The abuse of widows and their children constitutes one of the most serious violations of human rights and obstacles to development today. Millions of the world’s widows endure extreme poverty, ostracism, violence, homelessness, ill health and discrimination in law and custom.

The UN has also noted these issues are more widespread when there is an increase in the number of widows following armed conflict.

Lords Library notes LLN-2019-0073

Author: Edward Scott

Topics: Human rights, International development, International organisations, United Nations

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