HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The Plan International today called upon countries to prioritise quality education for girls as an essential factor in tackling global poverty through the global campaign ‘Because I am a girl’.
Vice-president Parmananda Jha, chief guest at the function organised to launch the campaign in Nepal on the occasion of the First International Day of the Girl Child, said adolescents are an integral part of the development and the concrete strategy is essential for their holistic development.
Nepal has registered progress in education and health sectors in recent days, but child marriage still prevails, Jha pointed, adding that awareness is essential to prohibit child marriage.
Atma Ram Pandey, joint secretary at the National Planning Commission, said the commission is drafting a five-year strategy for the holistic development of adolescents to address problems facing the adolescents.
He said the onus is on the country to help adolescents realise their dreams through friendly policies.
The World Health Organisation defines adolescents as young people between the ages of 10 and 19 years. There are 60 lakhs adolescents in Nepal.
Donal Keane of Plan Nepal
said child marriage, violence, discrimination and poverty, forces countless adolescent girls out of school, depriving them of their right to education.
The campaign running till 2016 aims to reach millions of girls through change in legislations and policies. The report of the Plan International shows an estimated 75 million girls are missing from classrooms across the world, which is a major violation of rights and a huge waste of young potential.
At the launch of the campaign, Human Rights Watch said eliminating child marriages should be
a key political priority for governments to protect the rights of girls and women.
Child marriages also violate other human rights, including to education, freedom from violence, reproductive rights, and access to reproductive and sexual health care, employment, freedom of movement, and the right to consensual marriage, HRW said in a statement.
HRW has recommended the governments of various countries with prevalence of child marriages to enact legislation that sets the minimum age for marriage at 18 and include requirements for the verification of the full and meaningful consent of both spouses.
The government should take necessary legislative and other measures to ensure that anyone who forces an adult or a child to enter into a marriage is appropriately penalised and that marriages concluded under force be voided, annulled or dissolved without undue burden placed on the victims, the statement read.
It further urged the government to recognise marital rape as a criminal offence and increase and improve access to reproductive healthcare for all girls and women in rural areas.