Kuriti is the Nepali word for improper cultural practices. A recent Survey by SOCH Nepal in conjunction with Ministry of Women, Children, and Social Welfare identified at least 57 kuriti. These are practices which degrade, harm, or somehow impact of an individual’s rights or quality of life; however they are promoted by the state of society, because of their status as ‘cultural’ or ‘customary’. Kuriti manly affect vulnerable groups within society; thus, directly impact the dignity and well being of Nepali women.
In 2012 SOCH Nepal in conjunction with HAMU initiated a “campaign against inhuman, degrading or harsh treatments to Nepalese women in the name of culture and tradition.” The main mission of the campaign is to eliminate kuritis and protect the human rights of women and children within Nepal. Furthermore, SOCH Nepal wished to monitor and publicize violent actions against women in the name of ‘custom and tradition’.
Examples of kuriti or improper cultural practices, which harm women in Nepal, include:
- Chaupadi – a practice in which women are obligated to stay in a tiny hut far from their own house during the time of menstruation
- Kumari cult – a practice where a girl from Sakya community is worship as a living goddess before the commencement of her menstruation
- Talakh Pratha (forced divorce)- women especially for the Muslim Community suffer from forced divorce, in some instances they do not know the reason behind the divorce
- Deuki Pratha – a girl, often from a poor family, is offered to the Hindu temple in the fear of god and to maintain social prestige and status from the elite group).