World Draft regulations restricting women's travel sparks anger

Draft regulations restricting women’s travel sparks anger

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648x415 manifestante lors protestation katmandou jeudi

A protester during a protest in Kathmandu on Thursday. – Subash Shrestha/Shutterstock/SIPA

Demonstrators protested this Thursday in Kathmandu (Nepal) against a draft new regulation that would force young women under 40 to seek permission from their families to undertake certain trips, denouncing a violation of their fundamental rights. The government says the new regulations are aimed at combating human trafficking, but protesters gathered outside the Immigration Department denounced barriers to women’s freedom of movement.

The new regulations would oblige those under 40 to produce a letter of recommendation from a member of their family or local administrative body to have the right to travel alone for the first time to a “country at risk” with a residence visa.

Authorization restriction since 2017

The ministry director tried to calm the crowd, saying there had “not been a decision yet” on the regulations. “During our discussions at the Ministry of the Interior, we will endeavor not to approve it because it is contrary to human rights”, he assured.

Since 2017, Nepal has restricted the authorizations granted to Nepalese to stay in certain Gulf countries as domestic workers, to avoid situations of forced labor and exploitation. But according to Manju Gurung, an activist working for women migrant workers, the restrictions have prompted an unrated number of women to use illegal immigration routes or bypass them with tourist visas.

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