Nepal beefs up laws for women’s safety

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NEWS -

KATH­MANDU, Nepal — Nepal’s par­lia­ment has passed a bill that aims to im­prove the safety of women by strength­en­ing mea­sures against acid at­tacks and mea­sures against the an­cient Hindu cus­toms of de­mand­ing dowry pay­ments for mar­riage and ex­il­ing women who are men­stru­at­ing.

The new law goes into ef­fect in Au­gust 2018, with vi­o­la­tors who force women into ex­ile fac­ing pun­ish­ments of up to three months in jail or a fine of about $29.

Many men­stru­at­ing women are still forced to leave their homes and take shel­ter in un­hy­gienic or in­se­cure huts or cow sheds un­til their cy­cle ends, though the prac­tice — called Ch­hau­padi — was out­lawed a decade ago. But with­out any as­signed penal­ties, the cus­tom con­tin­ued in many parts of the ma­jor­ity Hindu Himalayan coun­try, es­pe­cially in the western hills.

While ex­iled in iso­la­tion, some women must en­dure harm­ful low tem­per­a­tures or at­tacks by wild an­i­mals. Un­clean con­di­tions can also cause in­fec­tions.

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