More than a third of Nepali girls get married before reaching the age of 18, according to a Human Rights Watch report.
Thirty-seven per cent of Nepali girls get married before the age of 18, and 10 per cent before 15, according to a report that urges the government to take steps against the illegal practice of child marriage.
According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, Child Marriage Threatens Girls' Futures, poverty, lack of access to education, social pressures, dowry practices and cultural taboos are some of the main reasons for the high incidence of child marriage in the Himalayan country.
"In a country like Nepal, with such a high rate of child marriage, it becomes a serious factor holding the country back from achieving its potential," the report's lead researcher Heather Barr told EFE.
The NGO produced the report based on research carried out in 14 of the 75 districts of the country, including the capital Kathmandu. Interviews were conducted with 149 people, including 104 married children and young adults who married as children.
The report says most of these marriages are arranged by family members, and often against the wishes of the girls.
Although 20 has been the threshold for legally marrying in Nepal since 1963, and there are provisions for imprisonment and fines against those organising unions of underage girls, HRW says the government has done little to enforce the law.