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Conference on Widows to be Held in February
by Laura Slap-Shelton, Psy.D.

Empowering Women in Development is hosting an important conference in London on February 6th through February 9th 2001. Called "Widows Without Rights", this conference will focus on continuing to draw attention to the plight of widows and to work on ways of supporting widows in developing countries. The goals for the conference are to create 1) a resolution to send to the UN Secretary General, the Commission on the Status of Women, the CEDAW Committee, and human rights committees of the UN; 2) a document outlining policy guidelines for agencies wishing to address widows' human rights; and 3) 2-year work plan for Empowering Widows in Development.

The conference will address the following issues:

* alerting the international community to the abrogation of widows' human rights in the context of the worldwide struggle for poverty reduction and sustainable development

* demonstrating the need to design and implement policies which are specifically formulated to support widows and their children

* demonstrating the urgent need to utilize widows' rich experience and knowledge in policy formulation

* strengthening the capacity and effectiveness of widows groups in developing countries

The main conference will last 2 days and consists of seven sessions. The sessions will include plenary talks by international activists and oral testimonies from widows. Workshop sessions facilitated by international lawyers, widows and human rights activists will develop the pro-widow policies needed to protect widows in developing countries. In the evening films about widowhood will be shown. Participants are invited to bring videos about widowhood to share with the others.

Following the formal conference there will be a further 2 days of activities for Empowering Widows in Development's invited guests. Included in this part of the conference will be a working meeting with Empowering Widows in Development trustees to discuss the 2000-2002 EWD work plan, a meeting with the International Development Committee of the House of Commons, a visit to a London based women's group, campaigning for human rights.

Grief and Renewal will post the exact place and time of the Widows Without Rights Conference when they become available.

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