[violence] widowhood practices

The forms of violence referred to as “harmful cultural or traditional practices” have been addressed by the United Nations for many years. These forms of violence include female genital mutilation, female infanticide and prenatal sex selection, child marriage, forced marriage, dowry-related violence, acid attacks, so-called “honour” crimes, and maltreatment of widows.

Daughters of Fire, the India Court of Women on Dowry and Related Forms of Violence was held from July 26 -29, 2009 at Christ University, Bangalore. Organised by Vimochana and AWHRC India in partnership with forty women and human rights groups from different parts of the country and in collaboration with several local organisations and institutions the Court sought to open up new political spaces in civil society that would help us to bring the phenomena of dowry violence that has been made invisible, normal and routine back to the centre of public consciousness and conscience.

The project is called Milad Al-Amal Foundation Project for Humanitarian Services and helps women who cannot support themselves after their husbands have died or gone missing.
Some widows have been coerced into “temporary marriages”, others have become prostitutes, and some have joined the insurgency in exchange for steady pay.
The custom in this area of Ghana demands that a widow must choose someone from her late husband’s family to continue delivering children for the dead man. All of the children bear his name.
Act Together: Women’s Action for Iraq together with several other Iraqi and British women’s organisations, artists and activists organized a vigil to draw attention to the plight of Iraqi widows.
According to official and NGO sources, more than 90 Iraqi women become widows each day due to continuing violence across the country.
A rise in the incidence of “temporary” marriages among Shi’ite Muslims is causing concern among women’s rights activists.
Several hundred Palestinian women have held a silent protest in the West Bank town of Ram Allah, demanding legislation to protect women from so-called honour killings.
Traditional cultural practices are making it difficult for widows to re-marry of their own choice.
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