Kathmandu: Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists against abortion and child abuse
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - "No to abortion, to the exploitation of children and to child brides." This is the appeal launched by Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Baha'is for the International Day for Children, celebrated yesterday in Syambhunath stupa, one of the most important Buddhist shrines in the capital. Organized by the Alliance for Peace Education and Development Nepal, the day of prayer brought together representatives of the most important religious and charitable organizations in the country.
For religious leaders, the violence against children and the practice of abortion are a real scourge for the country. According to data provided by state clinics, the population is increasingly resorting to abortion. In one day, there are about 200 operations, in addition to the hundreds of illegal interventions practiced especially in the poorest regions. The statistics on marriages between adult men and teenage girls are alarming. In recent years, the number of girls who are forced by their families to marry before the age of 15 has risen to 3 million. Meanwhile, the Nepal Children Network denounces the exploitation of about 1.8 million children employed in brick factories, commercial activities and prostitution. Of these, about 21% do not attend school. The association also signals the increase of denunciations of sexual violence on young people under 18, the victims in about 49% of the cases of rape, abuse and the sex market.
In the joint prayer held in Syambhunath stupa, the representatives of the various faiths in Nepal wanted to show their closeness to these "little ones marginalized by society" and to the mothers forced to have abortions. Their appeal is a sign of the religions' commitment to building up society, which because of the Maoist government, relegates any form of belief to the private realm. Nazrul Hussein, the former leader of the Islamic Federation Nepal, said that "Muslims, Christians, Hindus came together to send a message to the whole world against violence against children and to reaffirm the sanctity of life."
Chirendra Satayal, a representative of the Catholic Church in Nepal, says that religious leaders "pray for the children who live in poverty, without food, forced to sleep in the street, for all victims of violence, for the rights of the unborn and for all mothers forced to have abortions by their husbands and family members."
During the ceremony, the religious representatives condemned the death by carbon monoxide poisoning of five children that occurred several days ago in China. They also prayed for all the young victims of the war and religious hatred in Syria and Gaza.