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International Women’s Day Should Prompt Real Reforms

As 2020 drew to a close, protesters across South Asia took to the streets, calling on their governments to take widespread sexual violence against women and children seriously, and to implement real reforms. But rather than listening to experts and…
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News

Policies Supposed to Protect Against Trafficking Only Put Women at Greater Risk

For decades, Nepal’s government has responded to incidents of abuse and exploitation of Nepali women working abroad by imposing one misguided rule after another, restricting their right to travel and earn a living. The latest proposals will make a bad…
A Nepalese woman holds a placard against a proposed rule which restricts foreign travel for women under 40 years during a protest outside the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu, Nepal, February 11, 2021.
News

Death Penalty Push Ignores Real Solutions to Regional Failings

(New York) – South Asian governments should disregard populist death penalty rhetoric and listen to their own experts to prevent and end sexual violence against women, Human Rights Watch said in a video released today. Experts on sexual violence from…
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Video
(New York) – South Asian governments should disregard populist death penalty rhetoric and listen to their own experts to prevent and end sexual violence against women, Human Rights Watch said in a video released today. Experts on sexual violence from…
News

Positive Legal Move from Government Is a Win for Campaigners, But More Can Be Done

Throwing acid on a person is a particularly horrific crime. It causes lifelong harm to the survivors, most of whom are women who were targeted by a man. Following a successful campaign by survivors, the government of Nepal has now introduced new laws…
A woman holds a placard during a demonstration on International Women's Day to protest against inequality and sexual violence, March 8, 2020.
News

Global Pandemic Exposes Gaps in Health Care and Safe Birth

Covid-19 has stretched threadbare health facilities in many parts of the world, often forcing the most difficult of choices – refusing medical care to one person to make room for another. In Nepal, decades of progress in maternal and newborn health…
A health worker wraps a baby born minutes before as the mother looks on at the government maternity hospital in Katmandu, Nepal, September 10, 2010.
News

Government Should Reform the Law and Police Response to Address Rising Tide of Abuse

Imagine discovering private – and perhaps intimate – photos of yourself online. Strangers are posting humiliating comments, with personal details, making you identifiable to the world. This is increasingly a reality for women and girls in…
Women hold placards during a protest against sexual violence in Kathmandu, Nepal
News

Accusation Against Senior Political Figure

A senior political figure in Nepal, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, was recently arrested on suspicion of rape. Activists and lawyers had initially feared the case would be buried because of the police’s dismal record of responding to rape…
The mother of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta, who was raped and murdered in Kanchanpur district, speaks at a mass rally calling for justice, Kathmandu, Nepal, September 15, 2018.
News

Police Still Not Doing Enough to Tackle Sexual Violence

One person was killed and several were injured in late August as police used force to curb recent protests over the rape and killing of a child in western Nepal. The schoolgirl’s body was found in a sugarcane field a day after she went missing in…
News

Nepal Was Far Ahead of Its Neighbors in Protecting Reproductive Rights

I am the daughter of a formidable campaigner for women’s reproductive rights in Nepal. Decades ago, when such issues were not part of the playbook for development activists, my mother, a medical doctor, started setting up family…
Women activists lie down on the road during a protest demanding women’s rights in the constitution in Kathmandu, Nepal, August 7, 2015.
News

But Making Chaupadi a Crime is Only a First Step

In July, 18-year-old Tulasi Shahi died after a snake bit her while she slept in a shed where she had been banished – because she was menstruating. The shed, unlike her home, was open to snakes and other animals. Her death was…
A chaupadi hut, in a family's yard, where female members of the family are obliged to sleep during their menstrual periods. Kailali district, western Nepal.
News

Still No Concrete Plan Despite Early Promises

Progress towards ending child marriage in Nepal appears to have ground to a halt, despite early hopes. Nepal, with the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia – 37 percent of girls married before 18, and 10 percent married by 15 – had been…
17-year-old Anjana M., married at 14, sits outside her home with her two-year-old daughter Ishita. Anjana’s aunt and uncle pressured her to marry her husband because of rumors about her relationship with him. Anjana’s father sent her to Pokhara when she w
Report
Summary The mayor said, “All thieves must be killed.” He said it was an order. −Witness to the execution of Fulgence Rukundo on December 6, 2016 Rwandan security forces summarily executed at least…
News

Woman’s death in a ‘menstruation hut’ in Nepal shines light on dangerous taboo

Dambara Upadhyay died alone aged 26 in a tiny mud hut she was banished to, just meters from her in-laws as her family slept. Her death has forced Nepal’s government to examine a practice that isolates and stigmatizes women and girls, pushes them out of…
A chaupadi hut, in a family's yard, where female members of the family are obliged to sleep during their menstrual periods. Kailali district, western Nepal.
News
Ramita married when she was 12 years old and her husband was 15. She describes it as a “love marriage” – she chose her husband and decided to marry him. But it’s not a simple romance.   Ramita’s choice is a reflection of how…
Lalita B.,17, had an arranged marriage at the age of 12 with a 37-year-old man.
News

Join Call for End of Abusive Practice On International Day of the Child

“I had three children – but two have already passed away,” Mahek Karn, age 19, told us, in a village in Nepal. Her parents arranged her marriage at age 16; she was pregnant within a month. Her daughter was one month old at the time of the interview, but…
Ganga M., 17, sits inside her home in Kailali, Nepal. Ganga had an arranged marriage at the age of 16 and was five months pregnant when this photograph was taken. Her husband works as a cook in India.
News
I never imagined a career in sex education. ​But in the villages of Nepal, it felt like there was no choice. I was researching a Human Rights Watch report on child marriage in Nepal, interviewing dozens of married girls, one after another,…
A five-year-old girl sits in a nursery school, which she is attending with a scholarship funded by a private sponsor. Quality education provides protection from child marriage—girls who are in school are less likely to marry. April 12, 2016.
Report
Summary Thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15, in spite of the fact that the minimum age of marriage under Nepali law is 20 years of age. Boys also often marry young in Nepal, though in lower…
News
“I had three kids. Two died. Only one is alive,” Kamala Kumari Pariyar told Human Rights Watch, sitting in the shade outside her home in Nepal’s southern Terai region. Kamala married at age 13. She attended school to class three but then…
Sharmila G., 14, eloped at age 12 and married an 18-year-old man. At the time this picture was taken she was seven months pregnant. She said that when rumors spread in her village about her relationship with her then-boyfriend, her parents tried to separa