HRW: Nepal doing little to stop child marriages

Pashupatinath TempleWomen take pictures with their phones at Pashupatinath Temple during the Teej festival in Kathmandu, Nepal

More than one and three girls in Nepal get married before they turn 18. Child marriage is prohibited in the country, but the authorities do not do enough to stop the tradition, says Human Rights Watch (HRW).

– Many children in Nepal – both girls and boys – get their future stolen by child marriage, said Heather Barr, dealing with women’s rights in HRW.

According to a report by the organization 37 percent of girls and around 11 per cent of boys in Nepal are under 18 when they get married.

The legal age for marriage in Nepal is 20 years old but the law is not followed regularly. Earlier, the government pledged to change the practice by 2020, but this was recently postponed to 2030.

Many are forced to marry, but HRW’s surveys also show that voluntary child marriages have increase d because the kids want to escape abuse and poverty, or want to choose who they will marry.

According to the report, which is based on over 100 interviews, the kids are often denied schooling and are exposed to domestic violence. Many also get children before their bodies are ready to cope with a pregnancy.

Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today