Sexual and gender minorities call for protection of their rights
The first-ever two-day national dialogue on the legal and social challenges facing, as well as the opportunities for, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and organizations in Nepal closed today with a call to the government to decriminalize same-sex sexual activity in the law and urged greater protection of rights of sexual and gender minorities. The participants also called on the government and affiliated parties to enshrine the rights of sexual and gender minorities in the constitution.
Minister of Health and Population Mr. Khaga Raj Adhikari of the Ministry of Health and Population, expressed the government’s commitment to addressing the concerns of the community. He pledged to do all he could, even at personal level, to advance for the rights of the LGBTI community. “The Nepal Government is committed towards LGBTI minority’s issues, to address it in policy, regulations and at the constitutional level. On personal level, I have full support too.”
US Ambassador to Nepal Peter W. Bodde encouraged community members to speak up against maltreatment.
"Your courage in speaking out about this maltreatment as well as the maltreatment of those around you is a testament to the courageous spirit of the LGBTI human rights activists here in Nepal. We hope many others join us in standing up for the rights of LGBT persons. We all deserve to live life with dignity, to pursue a life of happiness, and to have our human rights protected under the law,” said Ambassador Bodde.
The National LGBTI Community Dialogue is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Participants discussed the progress of the LGBT movement in Nepal as well as examined the difficulties faced by the community in areas such as laws, policies, education, health, employment, family affairs, media, and politics.
During the two-day dialogue, participants called on the government to allow sexual minorities to change their gender on the citizenship that have already been issued. The 2007 landmark ruling by Nepal’s Supreme Court which recognized the third gender on citizenship documents is only available to individuals who have not previously applied for citizenship and those who already have applied for citizenship prior to the ruling are unable to change their gender, according to community members.
The participants also urged the Same-sex Marriage Law Committee to release their pending report on the review of the same-sex law. The committee was established in 2007 to review and research the need for the law, however the report has yet to be shared with the public.
The dialogue was organized by UNDP as part of ‘Being LGBT in Asia,’ a regional initiative undertaken by USAID and UNDP to assess the situation of LGBTI people in Asia. Nepal is one of the eight participating countries in this initiative.
UNDP tel: 01-5523200 ext. 106