, NAIROBI, Kenya, June 23- Kenyans on Saturday joined the world in marking the International Widows’ Day, whose theme is ‘Empowering widows through vocational skills training’.
International Widows’ Day is a United Nations ratified day of action to address the poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents in many countries.
According to United Nations Statistics, it is estimated that there are some 258 million widows around the world, with over 115 million of them living in deep poverty.
According to UN, widowed women in many countries often confront a denial of inheritance and land rights, degrading and life-threatening mourning and burial rites among other forms of abuse.
The event will bring 2,000 widows from across all parts of the country, in an event hosted by the Ministry of Public Service, Youth, and Gender Affairs and presided over by Education Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohamed.
According to UN in many countries, “widowhood is stigmatized and seen as a source of shame.”
“Widows are thought to be cursed in some cultures and are even associated with witchcraft. Such misconceptions can lead to widows being ostracized, abused and worse.”
The wrath, a UN report states is also shifted to the children of widows who are often affected, both emotionally and economically.
“Widowed mothers, now supporting their families alone, are forced to withdraw children from school and to rely on their labour. Moreover, the daughters of widows may suffer multiple deprivations, increasing their vulnerability to abuse,” it reads.
“Such cruelties are often seen as justified in terms of cultural or religious practice. Impunity for abuses of the rights of widows is rife, with few perpetrators ever successfully brought to justice. Even in countries where legal protection is more inclusive, widows can suffer social marginalization.”
UN has challenged Government to uphold their commitment in ensuring the rights of widows as enshrined in international law, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.