Nepal government has proposed a new rule asking women under 40 years of age to produce consent from family and permission from local ward to travel abroad. This, the government claims, will reduce trafficking of women and girl children. The proposal has been highly lambasted by the people of Nepal.
Hundreds of women's right activists and their supporters took to streets in Nepal's capital on Friday. The protesters marching in the heart of Kathmandu chanted slogans demanding equality. Activists say even though the country's constitution guarantees equal rights to women, there is much more that needs to be done to make it a reality.
They point to the proposed law that would require women under 40 years of age to get permission from their family and local government to travel to the Middle East or Africa as a violation of human rights. The government has said the regulation would help stop human trafficking, but has pointed out it is just a proposal and not a law till now.
Speaking to Kathmandu Post, Tek Narayan Paudel, Spokesperson with Department of Immigration, said, “Women under 40 are at a higher risk of trafficking and other abuses. Therefore, the new rule is proposed for their protection. Family of the visiting girl/woman and the local ward office will give a recommendation that she can travel abroad.”
Responding to the new proposal, Human Rights Watch South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly wrote that "thoughtless regulations are harmful."
“The abuse of migrant workers, including women, is a serious problem, but these policies only make it worse. Instead of denying a woman her right to leave her country, the Nepali government should better regulate recruitment agencies, work with destination country governments to put protections in place, and respond effectively to provide protection services when abuses occur.”