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International Widows’ Day
23 June

"The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda with its pledge to leave no one behind has a particular resonance for widows, who are among the most marginalized and isolated. "

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

A 96-year old woman of the Banjara tribal community in a village near Hyderabad.

Ivorian widows run a small restaurant in Yopougon with the help of the non-governmental organization, Les Compagnes de Ruth. UN Photo/Ky Chung

Absent in statistics, unnoticed by researchers, neglected by national and local authorities and mostly overlooked by civil society organizations – the situation of widows is, in effect, invisible.

Yet abuse of widows and their children constitutes one of the most serious violations of human rights and obstacles to development today. Millions of the world’s widows endure extreme poverty, ostracism, violence, homelessness, ill health and discrimination in law and custom.

To give special recognition to the situation of widows of all ages and across regions and cultures, the United Nations General Assembly declared 23 June 2011 as the first-ever International Widows’ Day, to be celebrated annually.

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