LONDON, 22 July 2014 – Demonstrating Nepal’s commitment to ending child marriage as part of the global efforts to eradicate the practice, a delegation from Nepal attended the inaugural high-level Girl Summit on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Early, Forced and Child Marriage in London, United Kingdom on 22 July 2014. The Summit was jointly organized by UNICEF and the Government of the United Kingdom.
The event brought together women, girls, men and boys, and community leaders from around the world, alongside governments, international organisations and private sector to agree on action to end the harmful practices of FGM and child marriage within a generation.
Led by Ms. Neelam K.C. (Khadka), Honorable Minister, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, the Nepal delegation included Mr. Shankar Pathak, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare; Ms. Seema Khan, Chairperson, Nepal Inter-Religious Network (NIRN), Mr. Anand Tamang, Chairperson, Girls Not Brides Nepal network and Ms. Cathy Riley, Country Representative, CARE Nepal.
During the address to global leaders at the Summit, the Honorable Minister detailed Nepal’s commitment towards ending child marriage in a five point pledge. The Honorable Minister pledged that Nepal will declare child marriage as an unacceptable social practice and a punishable crime as well as work with adolescent girls and boys in meaningful and innovative ways to inspire a younger generation that actively supports the cause. She also pledged that Nepal, in recognition of boys and men as integral change-makers, will directly engage them in action to end child marriage. In addition, Nepal Government will also work with civil society, private sector, academia, media, community-based organisations, political, religious, cultural and social groups to call them to commit to ending child marriage as well as contribute necessary technical and financial resources towards actions for achieving this goal.
“Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is not an issue in Nepal. Unfortunately however, child marriage is widely prevalent in the country, with 29% of girls 15-19 years married,” said Ms. K.C. during her address.
In Nepal, nearly 3 out of 10 girls aged 15-19 are married while 4 out of 10 Nepali women were married before they turned 18, according to national statistics.
Nepal is also developing a cross-sectoral National Strategy to End Child Marriage. Expected to be completed by end of this year, the strategy will be the basis of a National Plan of Action to End Child Marriage with each activity aligned with the Government’s annual budget and program.
Child marriage is illegal in Nepal. It is a violation of children’s rights and national law. It represents the most prevalent form of gender based violence, abuse and exploitation of girls. It affects their education, health, and overall development, as well as that of their children and grand-children.
Child marriage often stems from the perception that girls are a burden to the family, and can be associated with the dowry system, wherein daughters who marry early require lower payments. Marriage is also seen as a way to provide male guardianship for their daughters, protect them from sexual assault, avoid pregnancy outside marriage, or ensure obedience to the husband’s household.
For further information, please contact:
Dr. Kiran Rupakhetee, Under Secretary, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare: Tel 9840068646 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shailee Manandhar, DFID Nepal: 5542 980, s–email@example.com
Sharmina Manandhar, Communication Officer, UNICEF Nepal: Tel 9843176153 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org