Wednesday, 13 May 2015

WIDOWS AND WIDOWHOOD: From Rites to Rights

Leadership Roles and Responsibilities
What’s Up?

Widows’ plight within countless communities throughout the globe is seemingly one of the most over glaring situations wherein customary practices, traditions and rites which are duly protected by national laws have at the same time severely infringed the same laws and other leader international dispositions.
  • Is it right for people to claim cultural rights wherein some fundamental human rights principles are severely violated?  
Protecting the customs of the local or traditional people forms the existential essence and rich diversity of such peoples. However, when these customs become very discriminatory wherein a particular sex is forced to undergo inhumane practices in order to demonstrate loyalty towards another meanwhile in a reversed case the same does not apply, a problematic is posed within the existentialist and protective rights of such customary norms and universal principles of equality with regard to ethics and mores.
  • What can we do when such a problematic surfaces in order to stay in conformity with legality?
  • Dot we violate one valued norm in order to protect the other or do we use the improvised intelligence of equity?

What’s Down?

In very obvious situations, the rule of law has often prevailed, the value of human life and inherent dignity happens to be the most cherished jus cogens or international peremptory norm.  The conceptualized meaning and notion of being a widow within traditional societies and being forced to undergo some or more of the mentioned examples of barbaric widowhood rites practices within the book in case study is clear prove of situations that violate the rights of the woman and her human dignity and integrity.  This means violating internationally peremptory norms over locally amendable societal mores.  Even when such locally made and adjustable customs are understood to impose adverse multiplier effects on the orphaned children of widow victims which may as well distort their community love and development zeal; it is still very amazing and shameful to watch how local law making bodies and enforcement authorities would sit back and even have or watch such illegal widowhood rites practices perpetrated within their communities and as well in their families.
  1. Do we have adequate knowledge about the obligation of State parties with respect to ratified international norms and what state or government authorities have the duty to do regarding communities and individuals perpetrating barbaric widowhood rites practices?
  2. When such situations are assessed can we attribute it to ignorance, to ill-intent, or simply to incompetence?
  3. Is there any excuse for ignoring the law? If not can we therefore indict law making bodies and law enforcement authorities for failing to uphold their duties?
  4. When public institutions fail in their duties uphold the law, are the legally instituted civil society partners aware of the opportunities they have within international dispositions to claim required support from such public bodies in order to assist implement their failed obligations?
While the brief literary piece in concern exposes some of the exemplary psychological, socioeconomic and rights-based worries that damage the well-being and inherent dignity of a victimized community widow and her orphaned children, it as well serves as a cautionary guide to public authorities in dealing with widowhood rites related issues and a facilitative medium for civil society activist towards in gaining government support for their activism  ventures to assist vulnerable community widows.

MAHSRA also indicates that it is presently undergoing a series of research works on gender equality intervention schemes and best ways for integrating pragmatic gender equality policy development and direct peace activity growth within local, national, intergovernmental, and international frameworks. And thus, is highly soliciting support from the public.
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Author’s Profile at:  Dr. Kelly NGYAH 
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