Nepal strengthens laws against dowry, menstrual exile

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal's parliament has passed a bill intended to make women safer by strengthening laws against acid attacks along with the ancient Hindu customs of demanding dowry payments for marriage and exiling women who are menstruating.

Lawmakers said Thursday that the legislation would make violations of the menstrual exile provision punishable by up to three months in jail or a fine of 3,000 Nepalese rupees, or about $29.

Though outlawed a year ago, many menstruating women are still forced to leave their homes and take shelter in unhygienic or insecure huts or cow sheds until their cycle is over. Parliamentarian Krishna Bhakta Pokhrel said the new bill, passed Wednesday, would work to discourage the practice "due to fear of punishment."

The legislation goes into effect in August 2018.