As Cameroon joined the international community to commemorate the 11th edition of International Widows Day this June 23, 2021 under the theme “eliminating violence against the Widows, improving their living Conditions”, the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and the Family has reaffirmed government’s resolve to protect the widow and her rights, arguing that widowhood is not a taboo.
Minister Marie Thérèse Abena Ondoa, made the announcement in an address to mark the event, reiterating that the ill-treament of widows and their children is a major human rights violation and an obstacle to development.
She underlined that many widows go through these torments in total isolation, rejected by their families and the community, unable to denounce or break the silence for fear of reprisals for their lives or those of their orphaned children, sometimes still of tender age.
The violence and abuse is further exacerbated by the widows’ ignorance and lack of knowledge of their rights and procedures to initiate in order to have these rights respected, she lamented.
The minister said the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and the Family will continue it’s actions in favour of the widow by raising awareness of their rights, building the capacity of widows to set up income generating activities, provision of financial or material support to widows and orphans, legal assistance to widows, psychosocial support and sensitizing traditional, religious and community leaders on the important role they have to play in the process of humanising widowhood rites and the protection of widows in general.
She underscored that it is in active synergy that the widow will be able to unleash her potential, which is indispensable for the construction of an emerging Cameroon by 2035.
By: Ruth Fonyong