Nepal President Bhandari insists on combined efforts to end superstition-based practices

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KATHMANDU — Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari has insisted on the combined efforts to eliminate superstition-based practices and harmful customs such as child marriage, dowry system and Cchhaupadi prevailing in the country.

Inaugurating a campaign against child marriage jointly launched by the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (Acorab), Nepal and World Vision here today, the President said superstitions and other harmful practices based on tradition prevalent in the Nepalese society had caused a negative impact on the country’s overall economic development and this must be rooted out.

The Head-of-the-State said, “The culture of child marriage has not only curtailed children’s rights but also has affected all aspects of their life. Thus collective efforts are necessary to ensure proper education to children and guarantee human rights. This practice has pushed the life of girls and women to a vicious cycle of difficulty and violence, and an elimination of this bad practice remains as a blot on the modern civilization is possible through collective efforts.”

The Constitution has, taking the child marriage as a violation of child rights, states it as a punishable crime, she added.

“Though the main responsibility of building a socially and culturally-civilised society meeting the spirit of the Constitution, laws, and rules rests on the government, the role of nongovernment organizations, civil society, mass media and other organizations based in communities is equally important to that end.”

Also speaking on the occasion, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Yagya Bahadur Thapa said that effective implementation of acts and public awareness were necessary to end child marriage.

Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare, Asha Koirala, pledged the effective enforcement of the Children’s Act.

National Human Rights Commission Chairperson Anuj Raj Sharma stressed that social campaign, full enforcement of laws and change in social mindset were essential to ending child marriage.

Acorab president Subash Khatiwada the campaign launched with the theme of “Unite Nepal, Stop Child Marriage” will remain in effect for the next five years.

The UNICEF data shows that the South Asia is iatthe forefront in terms of the cases of child marriage. Nepal’s latest data indicates that over one-third girl population or 37 per cent marry before their 18th birthday and 10 per cent marry before they turn 15. RSS