On Wednesday 9 August, the Nepalese parliament successfully passed a law that criminalises chhaupadi – a harmful traditional practice that sees girls and women banished from their homes during menstruation.
Child rights organisation Plan International welcomes the parliament’s decision to outlaw this discriminatory practice, but cautions that there is still a long way to go to eradicate it completely.
Sven Coppens, Plan International’s Country Director in Nepal, said:
“The Nepalese parliament’s decision to criminalise the horrific practice of chhaupadi – a serious human rights violation which discriminates against girls and women during menstruation – is great news for girls in Nepal. What they eat, where they can go, what they can touch and who they can interact with are all severely restricted when girls have their period – and this has a hugely negative impact on their lives. It not only causes them to miss out on school, but also makes them feel ashamed and unclean, puts them at an increased risk of abuse, increases their vulnerability to illnesses and sexual violence and also limits them in what they believe they can achieve in life.
“As an organisation working to advance children’s rights and equality for girls, we warmly welcome this announcement from the government as, over time, it will have the ability to change girls’ lives. However, changing the minds of those who enforce this practice will not happen overnight, so although this law change is a step in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to do before we will make it truly possible for girls in Nepal to get the same chance in life as boys.”
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