Lord Loomba speaks at IWD debate

Monday 11th March 2019 16:16 EDT

Lord Loomba welcomed the opportunity to celebrate International Women's Day by highlighting the issues women face everyday. Focussing on the plights of the widows, he said that they face double-discrimination in this world. To combat their mistreatment and abuse, he founded The Loomba Foundation.

Noting number of widows increasing worldwide, especially in war torn areas, Lord Loomba said, "Widows and their daughters in conflict zones face extremes of abuse and violence, including sexual violence. Both conflict-afflicted mothers and daughters are vulnerable to traffickers, sexual slavery, forced 'temporary remarriage' and modern-day slavery.”

“These numbers also include half-widows", he added. Describing the situation, Lord Loomba said, "there are uncounted millions of wives of men forcibly disappeared or missing. In Colombia 86,000 are missing, and in Sri Lanka 40,000." Further highlighting the problem, especially in countries such as "Syria and Iraq [where] there are uncounted missing husbands, sons and brothers" Lord Loomba went on to say, "In so many conflict zones, men go missing or lie unidentified in mass graves. These women are in limbo, unable to have any closure, their status so ambiguous.

“These women, widows, half widows and their daughters need help. If we want to achieve gender equality as well as the sustainable development goals by 2030".

Touching on his recent successful visit to the Department of International Development, where he gave a talk on widows and the particular difficulties they face, Lord Loomba stressed "we need to make an extra effort in developing countries and fragile states suffering from conflict where the input into civil life from the female population is often very limited".

He has also urged the Minister "to set up a specialist unit in the Department for International Development to focus on widows and their issues.”

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