IJM Zambia: Man Convicted and Courageous Widow Restored to Her Home

IJM Zambia engages in casework to protect vulnerable widows and orphans from illegal property seizure, which is prohibited under both civil and criminal law.
IJM Zambia engages in casework to protect vulnerable widows and orphans from illegal property seizure, which is prohibited under both civil and criminal law.

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Today, justice was secured for a courageous widow and her children when the man who stole their home was convicted for his crimes against the family.

After the death of her husband, Ruth’s father-in-law strong-armed her and her children out of the family home – a form of oppression that is all too common in the community. Ruth bravely sought the protection of the police and the courts under Zambian law, which makes it a crime to deprive a widow of her home and other rightful inheritance. IJM Zambia received the case and started advocating for Ruth, supporting the public prosecutor in the criminal trial and providing Ruth’s family with aftercare services to ensure they were taken care of while the fight for her home continued in the court.

Ruth broke into a wide smile this afternoon in court, when the judge ordered her father-in-law immediately to relinquish all possession and control of the home to Ruth and her children.

“Ruth was brave to stand up for her rights and defy her in-laws’ actions,” explains IJM’s Director of Africa, Philip Langford. “The fact that she has been restored to her home not only secures the future for her children, but also sends an important message of hope and deterrence to her whole community – that justice officials in Zambia will strike down the deprivation and exploitation of the vulnerable.”