Closing the protection gap for widows in conflict and post-conflict settings
The Permanent Missions of Niger, the African Union, and European Union, as co-Chairs of the Group of Friends of Women of the Sahel, jointly with Estonia, Ireland,
Kenya, Mexico, Norway, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam willco-host an Arria-Formula meeting to explore how to close the protection gap forwidows in conflict and post-conflict settings.
There are an estimated 350 million widows worldwide, many of which are collectivelyresponsible for 540 million children. Despite comprising approximately 13% of theworld's population, widows are under-researched and under-supported. The scale andunique risks of widowhood are amplified in conflict and post-conflict zones.The rate of widowhood in conflict zones can be greater than 50% of the femalepopulation, due to the higher rate at which men are killed or made victim to enforceddisappearances. In different parts of the world, widowhood can exacerbatevulnerabilities. Owing inter alia to negative social norms and gender stereotypes,discriminatory legislations and structural inequalities confining women to their maritalstatus and to traditional gender roles, in many cases, when women become widows,they are made disproportionately vulnerable, subject to widespread forms ofdiscrimination, including disinheritance, and in some cases violence, including harmfulpractices. Very often, with limited or no access to previous assets, financial resources,or inheritance and, without, legal documents, widows may face exclusion in society aswell as significant obstacles to claiming their rights and accessing support, and bedeprived of their basic rights. This creates a particularly dire situation, in particular inlight of the COVID-19 pandemic and given that current humanitarian responses inconflict and post-conflict settings are currently under-addressing this issue, particularlyin displacement contexts.