Prez Bhandari insists on combined efforts to end superstitious malpractices

KATHMANDU: President Bidya Devi Bhandari today insisted on the combined efforts to eliminate superstition-based practices and customs such as child marriage, dowry system and chhaupadi prevailing in the country.

Inaugurating a campaign against child marriage in the Capital today, President Bhandari said that superstitions and other malpractices based on tradition prevailing in the Nepali society had caused negative impact on the country's overall economic development and this must be rooted out.

"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,” said the Head-of-the-State adding “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 civilisation is possible through collective efforts."

The provision mentioned in constitution has taken the child marriage as a violation of child rights and states that it is a punishable crime, she added.

"The role of non government organisations, civil society, mass media and other organisations based in communities is equally important to construct a socially and culturally civilized society"

Similarly, speaking at the event, 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.

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

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

The campaign that was launched with the theme "Unite Nepal, Stop Child Marriage" would remain into effect for the next five years.

A UNICEF data showed that South Asia is in the 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.