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WOMEN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, single women group (WHR)

"No discrimination on the basis of marital status"

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In every society of South Asian region, the position of women is similar which is usually subordinate in nature. There are further sub-groups within women and widows are one among them. Widows are the marginalized group also within the group of women. The different factors such as the conflict, natural deaths, disasters, accidents have been the reason for the widowhood and these are prominent issues of South Asia. However, the issue of widowhood is the least talked issue in the South Asian region though the different consequences such as social ostracization, economic dependency and marginalization, legal discrimination, political insensitivity, human rights violations issues are deeply associated with this.
In this scenario, South Asian Network for Widows’ Empowerment in Development (SANWED) came to an existence in 2003 A.D. It is a loose network working for widows’ empowerment, mainstreaming widow’s rights in the national and regional level agenda and to enable widows enjoy their full human rights. Women for Human Rights single women group is the Secretariat of this network with other member organization from different SAARC nations.


The vision of SANWED is a world in which all widows enjoy their full human rights and live in dignity.


To enable widows to become collective AGENTS OF CHANGE in the South Asian region by bringing together the National Chapters of SANWED under one umbrella.


SANWED goal is to establish a national association of widows’ group in each country with branches or member associations in every city, town, village, refugee or IDP camp so that widows know and can obtain their rights, can access training and employment, and participate in decision-making at every level.

Widows’ Charter

The Widows’ Charter was declared and passed in the “International Conference in Capacity Building of single women (widows)” held on 12th to 14th May 2005 in Kathmandu, Nepal. It was drafted by Margaret Owen, Director of Widows for Peace through Democracy (WPD) and focal person of SANWED in coordination with SANWED member countries.

Colombo Declaration

The Colombo Declaration during the 15th SAARC Summit 2008 addressed the issues of widows for the first time in article 32 of declaration.

Current update:

WHR along with other Core Committee members of SANWED have already started the process of SANWED registration as regional body.
The book with the status of widows in Nepal will be published with some information of widows of South Asian region which will be launched at CSW, New York March 2013.

SANWED Secretariat: Women for Human Rights, single women group (WHR), Kathmandu, Nepal
General Secretary: Lily Thapa
International Focal Person: Margaret Owen, WPD, UK