Proposed new policy regarding foreign travel of women under 40 discriminatory, says Amnesty International NepalIssuing a press statement, the international rights group called the Nepal government to halt such arbitrary proposals that violate Nepal's international human rights obligations.
Amnesty International Nepal on Thursday said that the proposed new policy regarding foreign travel of women under 40 is discriminatory and called on the Nepal government to halt such arbitrary proposals.
"This policy proposal is blatantly discriminatory towards women and completely disregards their right to free movement,” said Nirajan Thapaliya, Director of Amnesty International Nepal, in a press statement issued on Thursday. “In the name of "protecting" its citizens, Nepali authorities must not introduce measures that violate the fundamental rights and freedom guaranteed in the Constitution to all, irrespective of their gender.”
According to a rule, which according to the Department of Immigration is under consideration, women under 40 years of age must seek consent from the family–and the concerned ward office–to travel abroad on a visit visa.
Tek Narayan Paudel, a spokesperson with the Department of Immigration, told the Post on Wednesday that the government has considered adding the new rule for women under 40 years of age travelling on visit visas.
“This is only for women under 40 and leaving the country on a visit visa,” Paudel told the Post. “This girls/women in this age group are at a higher risk of human trafficking and other abuses. The new rule is proposed for their protection from potential abuses.”
However, the rule has received massive criticism from all quarters.
Rights activists have said that the government is trying to rob women of their agency by curtailing their constitutionally guaranteed right to move freely.
"The authorities' defense of the policy as a measure to address trafficking is problematic and is representative of a protectionist approach adopted by the state towards its women,” said Thapaliya. “Such restrictions on the right to freedom of movement have resulted in many women using alternative, irregular migration channels, which often pushes them towards labour traffickers.”
On Thursday, the Department of Immigration said in a press statement that the proposed provision merely came up as a suggestion during internal discussions in the case of women travelling to risk-prone countries like those in the Persain Gulf and Africa for the first time and for those who don’t have general information about their travel.
“No decision has been made regarding this subject yet,” the statement reads.
Women and girls on Thursday afternoon demonstrated in front of the Department of Immigration against the rule.
“We call on the Government of Nepal to immediately halt such arbitrary proposals that violate Nepal's international human rights obligations," said Thapaliya in the statement.