Meeting of South Asian MPs begins

Kathmandu, March 22

A two-day meeting of South Asian parliamentarians on child marriage began in Kathmandu today.

The meeting is being jointly organised by the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development and Nepalese Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development.

The meeting is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia and the South Asia Regional Office of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

The main objective of this meeting is to accelerate parliamentarians’ efforts both nationally and sub-regionally to eliminate child marriage, thereby promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The meeting also intends to enhance exchange and learning among parliamentarians to have a better understanding of how to build preventive mechanisms into legislation, thus promoting gender responsive policies and legislation.

Inaugurating the meeting, Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun today said prevalence of child marriage in South Asia, despite a legal ban on it, was shameful. “There is a need for collective efforts from all spheres of life to eliminate child marriage,” he said.

Around one-third of girls in developing countries are vulnerable to child marriage. Child marriage is detrimental to the physical, mental and reproductive health of young girls.