On International Widows’ Day, Boris Johnson must add action to his words | Letter

Margaret Owen urges the government to end the silence on the plight of widows worldwide and help them gain basic rights and dignity

Boris Johnson’s government betrays not just children (Punishing the young serves Johnson’s politics of nostalgia, 22 June) but also women and girls – not just here, but across the world – by its brutal cuts in aid to the communities that need it most, and by its breach of legal obligations under Cedaw (the UN convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women).

Its arms sales and trade deals to racist, misogynist and authoritarian regimes, whose wars create uncounted millions of widows of all ages, violate the UN’s arms trade treaty. Where rape and displacement are weapons of war, overcrowded camps for internally displaced people and refugees are full of impoverished widows. And now Covid-19 competes with armed conflict to be another supreme widow-maker.

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