Advocacy work

LDS Charities: Fortifying Families Webinar Series – 29 September 2020 – 15 May 2021

International Organizations and the Family: An Overview

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, represented by
Latter- day Saint Charities in New York and Geneva, and the European Union & International Affairs Office in Brussels, is pleased to invite you to join us for the “Fortifying Families” webinar series. As the name suggests, this series will focus on what individuals and governments can do to fortify families, as well as the societal benefits of fortified families.

The initial episode, “International Organizations and the Family: An Overview” will air live on Tuesday, September 29 at 9:30 AM ET (New York) / 3:30 PM CEST (Brussels). The episode will provide an introduction to the series, and thus focus broadly on family advocacy within international organizations, including positive steps that these bodies have taken to strengthen family policy, how fortified families can help those organizations achieve their long-term goals, and some of the issues and tensions that arise when advocating for the family.

This episode is organized in partnership with the Federation of
Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE), and will run
approximately 30 minutes. We encourage active participation from the listeners. If you wish to do so, please use the “Questions & Comments” text box provided on the registration page, or during the webinar, to suggest questions for our guest speakers.

Vincenzo Bassi, President, Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE)

Renata Kaczmarska, Focal Point on the Family, Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD), Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Francesco Di Lillo, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – European Union & International Affairs

Ryan Koch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – United Nations & International Affairs

Registration is required and free of charge. Feel free to forward this email to your colleagues or others who might be interested.


Recordings will be archived on our Facebook page, [14]

_Follow or like this page. We will update it regularly with
information about upcoming webinars._

The family is the fundamental unit of society and strong, stable and healthy families sustain strong, stable and healthy societies. This series will explore contemporary issues affecting today’s families, significant ways families provide solutions to social ills, and suggested policies to fortify families as the fundamental unit of society. It is anticipated that this series will run biweekly during
the academic year, with episodes starting on September 29, 2020 and culminating in a celebration of the International Day of Families on May 15, 2021.

Advocacy work Committee Communications Committee Information Report Rights, Peace & Justice

International Council of Women – International Day of Peace Statement 2020

Click HERE to view and download the full document 

(Founded 1888)

Statement to Mark the International Day of Peace – 21 September 2020

“Shaping Peace Together” – as profoundly simple as it is profoundly important. Chosen by
the United Nations this year to mark International Day of Peace, this theme strengthens the
notion of cooperative commitment in the pursuit of peace. The call is for solid global
engagement in building the peaceful and prosperous future that people deserve, especially
today, when millions of people around the world struggle to overcome the turmoil, hardship,
and disequilibrium caused by COVID 19.

To respond to the UN Secretary-General’s appeal, in a spirit of solidarity and compassion, unity
and mutual assistance, the International Council of Women (ICW-CIF) partners proudly in the
global work we undertake and emphatically in the pursuit of peace. Our approach is one of
inclusiveness and empowerment. Clearly, peace can only grow, and stand the test of time, if it
has deep roots in our societies. For that, women are needed more than ever, because each
woman herself can be a fundamental agent of change regardless of her societal status. This
element of inclusion is essential for shaping values of peace and tolerance and is a key
component in preventing violence and conflict. It is also extremely important in the struggle
against the unprecedented global health crisis we are facing now, a crisis which has made
vulnerable people even more vulnerable and weaker… and which has unfortunately contributed
to increased violence, racism and hate.

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The
resolution addresses not only the inordinate impact of war on women, but mainly the pivotal
role women should, and do, play in conflict management and achievement of sustainable peace.
Through our national council affiliates worldwide, ICW-CIF plays a vital role by mobilizing
public opinion and by initiating programs for training, providing information and suggesting
courses of action. This effort also incorporates a focus on the whole concept of Peace – what it
is, and how we all have to work together in shaping it.

Meeting basic needs and development objectives, together with promoting gender equality and
social justice, is an essential step toward peace, but human needs are not limited to food and
shelter. They include freedom, self-determination and proper balance between individual and
collective rights. What is required therefore is a climate of mutual understanding, respect for
others’ rights and a high degree of equality in which individuals and communities can develop
and cooperate rather than function in a confrontational mode. Bearing in mind the fact that, as
stated in the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 “…civilians, particularly women and
children, account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict….” our
commitment to peace must be an on-going element in all our activities, and an underlying basis
for providing assistance to women in need whenever possible. We thus continue to demand
gender-responsive approaches based on equality which help transform the gender roles, norms
and structures which act as barriers to achieving well-being for everyone.

Let us remind our ICW-CIF members around the world, and others who share our resolve, of
the wisdom of Mother Teresa of Calcutta when she said: “Women are bound to be the tools of
peace, the workers and I should even say the tireless fairies striving for Peace and Development.
It is up to us women, to answer this challenge…” This is our responsibility and we, women of
the world, will continue to dream and to act in ways that will make those dreams come true. Let
us pledge to do our utmost to contribute to the achievement of all Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs), and specifically to SDG 16, which puts the emphasis on peace and justice.
Let us shape Peace together!

Advocacy work Events Rights, Peace & Justice

Women Federation for World Peace: International Day of Peace Webinar, 21-22 September 2020

Click HERE to view and download the full document

Advocacy work Committee Communications Committee Information Events Members Bulletin Other Panel Event Violence against Women and Girls Women's Health

Widows’ Rights International : Child widows and young widows – 4 September 2020

Click HERE to view and download the full document 


Beijing +20 NGO CSW Report

The gathering at the NGO Forum convened by the NGO Committee on the Status of Women (NGO CSW Geneva) for the UN Economic Commission for Europe region on 4-6 November, 2014 sort to precisely answer that question of the moment. It has been twenty years since the 4th Women’s World Conference was held in Beijing in 1995 where the world governments under the auspices of the United Nations adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, in which twelve critical areas of concern were identified, and strategies agreed on how to achieve women’s empowerment and human rights and contribute to a world of development, peace and equality.

The 700 participants who gathered in Geneva for the NGO Forum represented the diversity of experiences, economies, realities and history within the UNECE region. The women came from civil society networks, women’s national and community groups, including persons with disabilities, the elderly, youth, rural and indigenous women. They gathered to claim the commitments of Beijing, to assert that the issues raised then were still as important today, and indeed that there are emerging issues and realities that must be addressed or taken into account in the world of today. This report captures the experiences that were shared in the plenary sessions and the interactive roundtables. It captures the discussions and the recommendations that shaped and formed the key recommendations and the overall outcome document of the Forum. This report does not attempt to summarise all the details, but seeks to capture the key elements.


Please click on the image below to view and download the full report: 



Graduate Women International – International Day of Rural Women 2019 Toolkit

Graduate Women International offers this comprehensive International Day of Rural Women Toolkit that celebrates the limitless potential of rural women and girls everywhere.  International Day of Rural Women is celebrated annually on 15 October.

The complete toolkit can be downloaded HERE. 

The easy-to-use toolkit offers advocacy graphics that you can download for social media, action ideas, striking facts, relevant connections between rural women and the Sustainable Development Goals and much more.

Let’s join together today to celebrate rural women and raise awareness about their needs and resilience.


Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The gender snapshot 2019

Are we on track to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls? This newly release publication from UN Women brings together the latest available evidence on gender equality across all 17 Goals, underscoring the progress made as well as the action still needed to accelerate progress. A concise 22 pages in length, the publication take a spotlight approach, selecting one indicator per goal to illustrate progress, gaps and challenges to date. The exception to this approach is SDG 5, which is covered at the target level using corresponding indicators with available data and presented in a two page infographic style spread. In the case of the environmental goals, data gaps are a serious challenge. Women and men differ in their vulnerability to environmental challenges but data gaps hampers deeper understanding of the gender-environment nexus. The publication presents what information is available in the form of an infographic and emphasizes the lack of data and need to address this gap. On Leave No One Behind the report makes clear: an analysis on leaving no one behind is inherently an analysis of women and girls from poor, rural and marginalized groups.

NGO CSW Geneva encourages the global sharing on all platforms of this excellent report. Please click here to read, download and share this report.


Advocacy work Committee Communications Committee Information Members Bulletin Report Rights, Peace & Justice Violence against Women and Girls

Widows’ Rights International – Overview – 2019

Click HERE to view and download the full document 

Widows Rights International, Wixamtree, Sand Lane, Northill, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire SG18 9AD
+44 1767 627626 Registered Charity: 1069142


Widows Rights International (WRI) is a long established organisation fighting for the
rights of widows all over the world. We have recently concentrated on sub-Saharan
Africa. Conflict, disease and early marriage have increased the number of widows
across the globe with young women and girls becoming widows as well as women
throughout the life cycle. In addition to those women whose husbands have died,
there in an ever increasing number of women who are heading households due to
conflict and migration, where the situation of their husbands is unknown and they are
de facto widows.

In no country are widows and widowers treated equally but only in some regions do
widows have to tolerate the acceptance of the abuse of widows at both local and
national levels. The belief in the natural inferiority of women contributes to this, but
so also does the perversion of inhumane and degrading practices which have grown
up in very different economic and political conditions around the globe.

Widows are organising to break the silence but they need support. Provision of
information is critical. As a UK registered charity, Widows Rights International (WRI)
has provided support through its website, newsletter and network of local widows
groups, concerned lawyers and human right activists. It shares information on
successful strategies and tactics that have enabled widows to challenge their
despoilment and win court cases, to ensure that their governments translate
international human rights commitments into legislation, and to see that legislation is
implemented at the grassroots level. However there is still much work to be done as
abusive widowhood practices are still deeply embedded in many cultures.

WRI is the leading source of information on widows. We compile the stories of
widows and the organisations that help them. We are seeking to increase our data
base of organisations and individuals working for widows and female headed
households, together with their stories of overcoming the challenges that face them
in addition to the case studies of legal victories. This web-based and interactive
platform will enable greater exchange of vital information for all those concerned
with challenging the abuse of widows.

WRI disseminates this information through our regular newsletter and we seek to
increase this information flow by seeking out new sources of information as well as
intensifying our use of media and social media.

We have recently concentrated on sub-Saharan Africa because of the intense abuse
of widows includes degrading and harmful mourning rites. These harmful practices
are not only in direct contravention of international agreements, such as CEDAW, and
national legislation based on such agreements but with the HIV/Aids pandemic, are
also a considerable threat to national health.

WRI has been involved in the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the
Committee on the Convention of the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against
Women. We have organised delegations to attend these UN processes and have
organised events to raise awareness of the plight of widows but also to celebrate
their achievements. We have enabled widows and representatives of organisations
working for widows from Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Algeria, Iraq, Kurdistan, Sudan,
Egypt, Nepal to attend CSW to have a voice at the UN. We continue to seek to
provide opportunities for widows themselves to speak out about their concerns and
their achievements. We continue to work to influence policy at the international
level in regard to widows. Within the framework of Agenda 2030 and the concept of
“leave no one behind” we are working to raise awareness of the importance of “last
woman first” and were co-founders of the Global Alliance for Last Woman First, as
widows the world over are the poorest and most discriminated against. WRI has been
involved in raising awareness on the issue of widows in the UK and has held several
briefings for parliamentarians in the Houses of Parliament, both Commons and
Lords. We seek to continue and expand this work. We are planning events with think
tanks in the UK and working with Commonwealth partners. WRI recently provided a
“lunch and learn” for DFID personnel to increase awareness of the situation of
widows worldwide.

WRI has undertaken research on the situation of widows and we seek to increase this
research in order to gain valuable data to influence policy.

WRI has been very successful in fundraising for widows organisations. Women of
Purpose is a successful organisation in Uganda which has grown in strength and reach
since the seed funding provided by WRI. This is one example of the many organisations helping thousands of women and girls that WRI has enabled. We seek  to expand this fund raising work to assist those organisations too small and underresourced to achieve success to raise funds on their own. The aim is to accompany  them until they become social enterprises developing a sustainable fiscal strategy.

Our goals are to:
§ Support the international campaign to end harmful cultural practices which
ignore the human rights of widows and lead to their dire poverty and social
§ Raise awareness and understanding of the discrimination and violence
encountered by widows in many countries.
§ Continue to advocate for widows’ rights to be integrated into the human rights
agendas of national and international agencies.
§ Promote the emergence of a vibrant and informed network of community
based groups, widows’ groups, NGOs, lawyers and human rights activists
working on widowhood issues.

Human Rights Council Rights, Peace & Justice Violence against Women and Girls

Widows’ Rights International – 41st session of the Human Rights Council Written Statement on Early and Forced Marriage

Please click HERE to view and download the full written statement 

Widows Rights International (WRI), Wixamtree, Sand Lane, Northill, SG18 9AD, UK

41st Session – Human Rights Council

Written statement on Early, Forced and Child Marriage

Widows all over the world are the victims of early, forced and child marriage but their situation is  hidden.

Child marriage is allegedly banned in most of the world. However, the United Nations Population Fund estimates there are 650 million girls and women alive today who were married before they were 18 years old. There are many reasons for this. For example, in situations of poverty, girls are  seen as a burden on the family’s meagre resources and the temptation of a dowry upon their  marriage can provide some comfort to the family.

These girls and women lack physical, psychological, legal or social protection. Local laws forbidding  early or child marriage may be unclear, not policed or absent. In terms of forced marriage, this  might relate to girls who fall pregnant through choice or rape being forced to marry the man  involved in order for their families to avoid social stigma.

While the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that “a child means every  human being below the age of eighteen years…” the definition continues with a condition “unless  under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.” So children may be under 18 or  younger, depending on the jurisdiction. In countries even where there is rule of law, this clause engenders disparity and tolerance of abusive local practices towards children and teenagers. For  many reasons, including flight as a refugee due to conflict or natural disaster, the formal recording of  births and marriages does not routinely happen or paper trails are lost. This means that it is difficult  to prove a person’s age, which again muddies their status in the eyes of international law.

Marriage or living in the role of “wife” may involve degrading sexual and emotional abuse. If the  men die, these girls then face social isolation, further abusive practices, extreme poverty and  invisibility. Their potential contribution to society is lost as they are deemed worthless. The term “widow” is subject to unconscious bias, as for many people it means someone of mature  years but in reality among the 300 million widows many are still children under the UN definition,  and many are aged between 10 and 13. The Declaration of the Rights of the Child acknowledges that “the child, by reason of his physical and  mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before  as well as after birth.”

The existence of child and early marriage may be considered contrary to international doctrine especially given the requirement for “special safeguards and care”, but the resulting medical impact  on girls whose bodies are not yet fully developed for childbirth, the risk of disease from their (much) older partner and their subsequent traumatic descent into widowhood need greater publicity and  consideration at the highest levels of society.  Widows’ Rights International urges governments meeting at the 41st session of the Human Rights  Council to liaise with civil society in their countries to obtain disaggregated data on the numbers and status of widows and to join the Commission on the Status of Women meeting in its 63rd session in  March 2019, in strongly condemning “all forms of violence against all women and girls, which is  rooted in historical and structural inequality and unequal power relations between men and women.  It reiterates that violence against women and girls in all its forms and manifestations, in public and  private spheres, including sexual and gender-based violence, domestic violence and harmful  practices such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation, are pervasive,  under-recognized and underreported, particularly at the community level.2

”1 accessed 2/6/19
2 Agreed conclusions of UN CSW63. accessed 2/6/19

Human Rights Council

HRC39 Statement – Countering Drug Problems by Strengthening Families

“The world spends much more energy and resources managing crises than preventing them. Thus the UN must uphold a strategic commitment to a “Culture of Prevention”, pledged in 2005 but yet to materialize”, explained newly elected UN Secretary General Antonia Guterres addressing the General Assembly. in critique of the body he was to head- and perhaps delineate his strategic priorities
We salute the efforts of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) especially the programs conducted in Latin America called “Strong Families” or “Strengthening Families”. Looking more deeply into these programs it becomes evident that the preventative impact of strong families in relation to crime or drug abuse is very high and based on strong statistical evidence, yet the good news doesn’t seem to travel far.
Strong families deliver the best protection against drugs and crime among young people. Quality relationships based on honesty, good communication skills, care for each other, accountability etc. between siblings and parents and children, can and should be taught and learnt so as to create a climate in families where destructive elements cannot easily invade young people. These qualities that so called “strong families” can naturally access and promote are a very effective deterrent for the debilitating influence of drugs and crime on, especially during their most vulnerable years of adolescence.
The positive effect of the programs of UNODC can be enhanced dramatically through parallel appropriate family-supporting measures provided by respective governments. UNODC has the necessary statistics and research allowing governments to learn how to support and adapt these programs to guarantee the best outcomes. A more pro-active policy of resources sharing and inter agency cooperation in this field could free desperately needed resources to areas like development and higher education.
It is however equally evident that if governments act carelessly in dealing with families or in extreme cases even counteract the positive approach of these programs, drug abuse and crime especially among youth will increase appreciably. Guiding and empowering parents to take on their primary responsibility towards their own children and should be the target of any efforts in crime and drug prevention measures. Governments should not only use repressive means, but show greater willingness to invest human and financial resources in support of positive preventative programs.
The Universal Peace Federation would like to offer the following recommendations:
1) The programs of UNODC should be adapted to other parts of the world, particularly also to nations of the Western hemisphere where drug abuse has dramatically increased due to governmental inabilities in many places, to combat family breakdown and or analyze the phenomenon of unattended and neglected youth properly. The preventative effects of “Strong Families” has not been widely understood, especially in the West.
2) Governments in all parts of the world should make the “Strong Families” Policy a first priority as to combat crime and drug abuse most effectively.
3) More research should be done worldwide in matters of “family education” as to guarantee that governments have the capacities and know-how to support the efforts of UNODC.