The Kathmandu Post, RSS, 2nd April 2017, Jumla
Haanku village of Jumla recorded the highest number of child marriages in the last fiscal year, in an indication that there still is lack of awareness about the issue.
Until the new local restructuring came into force earlier this month, there were 26 village development committees in Jumla district, and Haanku is one of them.
At a two-day orientation organised by the District Coordination Committee, Jumla to declare Tatopani and Dillicharu child-friendly VDCs, the committee’s senior programme officer Chetra Bahadur Budhathapa informed that 73 cases of child marriage were recorded in Haanku in the last fiscal year.
The country’s law says both men and women have to be 20 years of age before they can legally marry.
Nepal outlawed child marriages in 1963, but according the latest report of the Human Rights Watch, released in September last year, almost 40 percent of girls married before the age of 18. The rights body had pointed to government indifference towards the issue and failure to take concrete steps to stop the scourge in Nepal which has which has the third-highest rate of such marriages in Asia after Bangladesh and India.
The 2011 survey by the government had found that 41 percent of girls in Nepal married before the age of 18. According to Unicef, the UN’s child protection agency, 37 percent of girls married before the age of 18 and 10 percent were married before the age of 15.
Marriage in early ages deprives girls of their basic rights, including education and health, and threatens their future.
Young married girls, studies have shown, often suffer from sexual and domestic violence and risk their health.
Girls who marry young suffer from pregnancy-related complications, uterine prolapse, infant and maternal mortality, malnutrition of both mother and child as well as psychological problems, including depression and violent marital relations, according to studies.
The scourge of child marriage has continued due to failure on the part of concerned agencies to strictly enforce the law, said Budhathapa.
Points to ponder