Human Rights Watch urges Zimbabwe to reform inheritance laws to protect widows

International organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) has appealed to the government to reform the country’s inheritance laws in order to better protect widows.  Many widows often lose matrimonial property including houses when their husbands die.  Some in-laws even go to the extent of leaving the widow practically destitute after taking all the property.

HRW said:

The government should take immediate steps to register all marriages, including customary unions, reform its marriage laws, and raise awareness on the property rights of widows.

However, the law was changed and even if the widow is registered under the customary law she inherits the immovable property that she was living in and the household goods. In-laws take advantage of the fact that many women do not know their rights.  Or if they do they are often afraid to challenge tradition and go to court.

HRW added

[This] would help protect thousands of women each year against the injustice of being summarily thrown out of their homes when they become widows.

Watch video by Haru Mutasa on Zimbabwe’s Widows.

More: AA.com


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