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No woman should lose her rights when she loses her husband: UN Chief
On the occasion of International Widows' Day (IWD) being observed today, June 23, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message said, "No woman should lose her rights when she loses her husband - but an estimated 115 million widows live in poverty, and 81 million have suffered physical abuse.

Girls married to much older men are especially vulnerable. Let us use International Widows' Day to advocate for the rights of all widows so they can enjoy better lives and realize their great potential to contribute to our world."

Today, across the world, the UN-ratified IWD is being observed to address the issues of poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents. Initially, IWD was established by a civil society organization, the Loomba Foundation, in 1954 and later recognized by the UN to highlight what it describes as an invisible calamity of becoming a widow.

It was in 2010, the UN General Assembly formally adopted 23 June as IWD with a resolution called upon a special attention to the situation of widows and their children.

According to a rough estimate done in 2010, there were around 245 million widows worldwide and half of them lived in poverty and suffer from social stigmatization and economic deprivation purely because they have lost their husbands.

The UN has reported that around 40 million widows live in India, 15,000 alone, on the streets of the Holy City of Vrindavan, who need to be looked after to live a life of dignity.

According to the UN, the world community must pay due attention to stop the abuse of widows and their children since they constitute one of the most serious violations of human rights and obstacles to development today.

There is a need to get sensitive to millions of the world?s widows who endure extreme poverty, ostracism, violence, homelessness, ill health and discrimination in law and custom, observes UN on its website.

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