Child marriage on the rise



Kathmandu, Apr. 7: Child marriage has reportedly increased of late.
According to the Central Child Welfare Board, 40 incidents of child marriage have been reported in 14 districts in the four months. The highest has been recorded in Baitedi at 12 incidents.
In the first four months of the current fiscal year, 32 child marriage incidents were reported. In the previous fiscal year, a total of 66 child marriage incidents came to light. This shows that the number of children marriage in on the rise, as the number of incidents that have not been reported may be higher.
Executive Director of the Board Tarak Dhital says that the classification of the child marriage incidents show that the marriage between minors is highest. Accordingly, 50 per cent or 20 marriage incidents took place between children while 45 per cent was between a minor girl and adult man. Around 5 per cent were unequal marriage i.e. with an elderly man.
Likewise, of the 32 incidents 14 or 35 per cent were held with the parents consent while 65 per cent or 26 incidents were marriage without the consent of the parents i.e. elopement. The highest number of child marriage has been reported in Baitedi, Bajhang, Accham, Jajarkot, Makwanpur and Kalikot. Syangja, Rupandehi, Jhapa, Rolpa, Sindhuli, Doti, Solukhumbu and Dolakha also reported incidents of child marriage this fiscal year.

Meanwhile, according to Nepal Police, Women and Children Service Directorate, in the previous fiscal year, 26 complaints related to child marriage had been registered. Media reports however said 66 incidents of marriage took place. Hence, it shows that reporting about such incident is very low.
As per the amended provision in the civil code, the minimum age for marriage is Nepal is now 20 years. But Nepal continues to remain as one of the country with highest rates of child marriage.
President of Dalit Women's Centre Gaura Nepal attributes increasing child marriage to prevalent harmful practices, lack of awareness and illiteracy.
CWIN Nepal spokesperson Kumar Bhattarai stresses on public awareness and sensitization to minimize the incidents of child marriage.
It may be noted as per the sustainable development goals, Nepal has introduced a national strategy two years ago to end child marriage by 2030. And the concerned government agencies as well as stakeholder agencies have an important role in putting the strategy to practice.  -Sushil Darnal, RSS

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