Child marriages continue unabated

Kathmandu, June 26

Although the existing law stipulates 20 years as the legal age for marriage, child marriages continue unabated, especially in rural parts of the country.

A report released by Women’s Rehabilitation Centre Nepal shows that child marriage is rampant in different parts of the country. Of the 50 cases of child marriage recorded by the organisation, 46 per cent were forced while in 54 per cent of the cases children got married on their own.

“Although the law clearly stipulates punishment for those solemnising such marriages, it has not been implemented effectively,” said Abhiram Roy, programme director at WOREC.

For both the government as well as non-governmental organisations, enforcing the law is a dilemma because legal action means prosecuting the parents.

Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriages, which directly hinder the achievement of six sustainable development goals.

Rights activists believe that tackling the root of the problem – the economic situation of families.

Roy said the study had shown that many factors including poverty, physical security, deep-rooted social norms and values including family honour, culture and religion contributed to child marriages.