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Nepal women’s rights activists protest proposed law limiting foreign travel

Hundreds of women’s rights activists and their supporters protested in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu on Friday to call for an end to violence and discrimination against women and the scrapping of a proposed law that would restrict foreign travel for many women.

The point of contention is a 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. The protesters maintain that this is a violation of fundamental human rights. According to the government, the regulation would help stop human trafficking, which is a very serious issue in Nepal. Tek Narayan Poudel, information officer at the 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.”

The department has sent a proposal to the ministry of home affairs to amend the visit visa provision of the existing immigration procedure 2065. Additionally, non-life accident insurance of up to 15 lakh Nepalese rupees (approximately USD 12,917) has also been suggested to be made mandatory for women going abroad.

Various civil society groups and human rights organizations have decried the proposed law. Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, stated, “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. The Nepali government should include women in decision making, instead of treating them like children and second-class citizens.”

The immigration department released a press note defending the proposed law, arguing that it does not violate any constitutionally guaranteed rights. It also pointed out that the rule has been misrepresented in the media and it is just a proposal and not a law.

Article: Nepal women’s rights activists protest proposed law limiting foreign travel


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(UN General Assembly, 1948) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 1. All human beings are free and equal 2. No discrimination 3. Right to life 4. No slavery 5. No torture and inhuman treatment 6. Same right to use law 7. Equal before the law 8. Right to be treated fair by court 9. No unfair detainment 10. Right to trial 11. Innocent until proved guilty 12. Right to privacy 13. Freedom to movement and residence 14. Right to asylum 15. Right to nationality 16. Rights to marry and have family 17. Right to own things 18. Freedom of thought and religion 19. Freedom of opinion and expression 20. Right to assemble 21. Right to democracy 22. Right to social security 23. Right to work 24. Right to rest and holiday 25. Right of social service 26. Right to education 27. Right of cultural and art 28. Freedom around the world 29. Subject to law 30. Human rights can’t be taken away