KATHMANDU, Dec 18: The inaugural ceremony of the Regional Meeting to Review Commitments and Actions for the Girl Child and to develop a Regional Action Plan to End Child Marriage was held in Kathmandu at Hotel Annapurna, Durbar Marg, on Monday.
Organized by SAIEVAC Regional Secretariat (South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children) in collaboration with UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia, and UNFPA APRO, the meeting saw Dr. Rinchen Chophel, Director General of SAIEVAC at the Regional Secretariat; Wasil Noor Muhmand, Deputy Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs & Disabled (MOLSMD) in Afghanistan and Chairperson of the SAIEVAC Governing Board; Nobuko Horibe, Regional Director of UNFPA APRO; Karin Hulshof, Regional Director of UNICEF ROSA; Ahmed Salem, Secretary General of SAARC, and Upendra Adhikari, SAIEVAC Governing Board Member from the Government of Nepal.
Speaking at the meet, Karin Hulshof said while focusing on the education front of the girl child, “Child marriage is illegal and it curtails the freedom of the girl child. Girls often drop out of school once married and this issue is often ignored by families.”. She added that one year of education can reduce child marriage.
From L to R: Upendra Adhikari, SAIEVAC Governing Board Member from the Government of Nepal; Karin Hulshof, Regional Director of UNICEF ROSA; Ahmed Salem, Secretary General of SAARC; Representative of Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD); Nobuko Horibe, Regional Director of UNFPA APRO; Wasil Noor Muhmand, Deputy Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs & Disabled (MOLSMD), Afghanistan and Chairperson of the SAIEVAC Governing Board and Dr Rinchen Chophel, Director General of SAIEVAC, Regional Secretariat releasing Regional advocacy kit and policy briefs on Child marriage by AFPPD during the inaugural ceremony of the regional meeting to review commitments and actions for the girl child and to develop a Regional Action Plan to end child marriage held at Hotel Annapurna, Dubar Marg, on Monday in Kathmandu.
Representative of the different SAARC countries along with SAIEVAC, UNICEF and UNFPA representatives pose for a picture before the meeting to review commitments and actions for the girl child and to develop a Regional Action Plan to end child marriage.
Photos: Pravat Jung Gurung/Republica
On behalf of the Government of Nepal, Upendra Adhikari reiterated the state’s responsibility and said that Nepal Government is willing and in support of the end of child marriage in Nepal and in its neighboring South Asian countries. “According to the 2011 census survey, a girl gets married by 17.5 years and this puts the girl child’s health at risk and she becomes a victim of violence and abuse at an early age,” said Adhikari.
The meeting discussed about the commemoration of the first International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) for all SAARC countries, presented national action plans to address empowerment of the girl child with a special focus on actions against child marriage, and identified regional priorities, and developed a regional action plan. The plan is to be made public on Tuesday.
On November 17, 2011, the Third Committee of the General Assembly agreed to designate October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child to be observed every year beginning from 2012. In the resolution, the General Assembly invited all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations as well as civil society to observe the International Day of the Girl Child and to raise awareness of the situation of girls around the world. At the UN headquarters in New York, UN agencies have identified child marriage as its major theme to commemorate this landmark event.
IDGC was celebrated throughout Nepal with various events, workshops and discussions.