The New Delhi-based Asian Centre for Human Rights has ranked Nepal 11th in skewed child ratio at birth.
Releasing its report ‘Female Infanticide Worldwide’ yesterday, the ACHR stated that female infanticide for son preference due to variety of reasons is a worldwide phenomenon with 1.5 million female foetuses being aborted every year. India ranked fourth and Liechtenstein first in skewed child sex ratio at birth.
Analysing the available statistics provided by the ‘Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook’ on child sex ratio at birth, ACHR’s study ranked the top countries in the world.
According to the report, the invention of technology like ultrasonography for pre-natal sex determination in 1980s replaced intentional killing of infant girls with sex selective abortion of female foetuses.
Since 1990s various studies recognised female infanticide as a serious problem with reduction of women in comparison to men. The collusion of technology and traditions created monumental problem for the humanity with reports of millions of missing girls through female infanticide.
The United Nations in 2007 estimated that between 113 million and 200 million girls/women are demographically “missing” across the globe and the number has increased with more than 117 million girls/women “missing” in Asia alone due to sex selective abortions as per latest information provided by the United Nations Population Fund.
Biologically, normal sex ratio at birth varies from 102 to 106 males per 100 females. But the SRB has increased sharply in favour of males due to sex selective abortions of female foetus due to preference for son in the family.
The highest SRB was found in Liechtenstein (126 boys born per 100 girls born) in 2012 followed by China (117.8) in 2011, Azerbaijan (115.6) in 2013, Armenia (114.8) in 2013, 13 Vietnam (112.2) in 2014, 14 Georgia (111.8) in 2013, Albania (110.9) in 2012, India (110.5) during 2008-10, Pakistan (109.9) in 2007, Tunisia (107) in 2014, Nigeria (106) in 2014, Nepal (106) in 2011, and South Korea (105.3) in 2013.
In March 2002, Nepal made abortion legal by amending the Country Code, Muluki Ain, which received royal assent in September 2002. Earlier, abortion was illegal under any condition expect to save the life of a pregnant woman. “Nepal is a patriarchal society where son is given preference over the daughter due to various socio-cultural, economic, and religious factors. Men hold most of the rights, responsibilities and priorities, while women’s social, economic, cultural and political status is inferior to that of men,” said the report.
A version of this article appears in print on July 10, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.