Good news from Nepal!

Nepal has long had laws against sodomy that have been traditionally used to targets gays, lesbians, transgendered people (sound familiar?) FIAR, NYBC’s sister organization, had the opportunity to help our friend Sunil Pant, get a start with a condom distribution program in Kathmandu that he quickly turned into a powerhouse of activism called the Blue Diamond Society.

The news from the BBC and information from Sunil below are the BEST Solstice gift I could have received!
George M. Carter

**
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7156577.stm
BBC NEWS
Nepal court rules on gay rights
Nepal’s Supreme Court has ordered the government to scrap laws that discriminate against homosexuals.

The court ordered that sexual minorities should be guaranteed the same rights as other citizens.

Campaigners said the ruling was a “huge victory”. Homosexuality is frowned upon in conservative South Asia.

Nepalese laws do not explicitly criminalise homosexuality, but an “unnatural sex act” currently carries a prison term of up to a year.

Human rights campaigners say the provision has been used to justify arrests of men who have sex with men and transgender people.

‘Encouraging’

Gay men and women and members of other sexual minorities have long complained of discrimination in Nepal.

In their ruling, two Supreme Court judges said: “The government of Nepal should formulate new laws and amend existing laws in order to safeguard the rights of these people.

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex are natural persons irrespective of their masculine and feminine gender and they have the right to exercise their rights and live an independent life in society.”

Activists said it was a landmark ruling.

“It’s a very encouraging and progressive decision. We all feel we are liberated today,” Sunil Babu Pant, the president of the Blue Diamond Society which campaigns for Nepal’s sexual minorities, told the AFP news agency.

“There were no specific laws to protect the rights of sexual minorities but the Supreme Court’s decision has opened the doors to enjoy our rights.”

Mr Pant said education, citizenship papers and jobs could now be given to people without them having to identify themselves as male or female, or giving their gender as “third sex”.

There was no immediate response from the government to Friday’s ruling.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/7156577.stm

Published: 2007/12/21 18:03:00 GMT

© BBC MMVII

***— sunil pant wrote:

Dear All

With such joy I was loosing my senses and its very
natural to forget to theose who are closest to the
heart. I must recognized all the LGBTI and AIDS
activists around the world including Nepalese,
especially those at ILGA, ITPC, GNP+, ICW+, UNAIDS,
UNDP, NCASC, NHRC, USAID, SIDA, CREA, Sangini,
ILGA-ASIA. FIAR (Foundation for Integrative Aids
Research)George M Carter and Michael Daube are the
name I must not forget who donated condom/lube to me
to start outreach program in year 2000, when I
hardly
knew this day will come. Sangya and INSN,
British Embassy, French Embassy, Norwaigen Embassy,
US
Embassy, Global Rights, Worec, Human Rights Home,
Tewa,VSO,Peace Core and many more there. Ap rainbow,
LGBT India, Adis Asia, SOGI and many more are
there…
Thank for joining us, the LGBTI nepales yesterday,
today and tomorrow.
Also salute to my family (BDS and my own), partner,
and freinds who are very close my heart.

My big salute to all the volunteers (who say they
enjoy wokring with BDS and Nepalese LGBTI) for their

valuable support…..And there are more

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

In solidarity

Sunil Pant

— sunil pant wrote:

Great victory of Nepalese LGBTI !

Supreme Court of Nepal issued directive orders to
the Government of Nepal to end discrimination against
LGBTI and ensure equal rights as heterosexual men
and women in Nepal.

Four LGBTI organizations including Blue Diamond
Society had filed a writ petition in last April
2007(05/01/2064) demanding to defend and protect
equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and
intersexed (LGBTI) people of Nepal. After having
heard 3 times over the last few months, Supreme Court of
Nepal has recognized LGBTIs today as natural
persons.

It is believed that LGBTI will enjoy, today onward, all the rights according their sexual and gender
identities as other genders enshrined by the
Constitution of Nepal and human rights conventions
in which Nepal is a State Party. The Court issued
directive orders to Nepal government to ensure
rights to life according to their own identities and
introduce laws providing equal rights to LGBTIs and
amend all the discriminatory laws against LGBTI’s
rights as well.

On the issue of same sex marriage, The Court has
also issued directive order to form a 7 member committee

(Doctor appointed by Health Ministry, one
representative from National Human rights
commission, law Ministry, socialist appointed by government of
Nepal, representative from Nepal police,
representative from Ministry of population and
environment and one advocate as a representative
from the LGBTI community) to conduct study about the
other countries’/international practice on the same sex
marriage. Based on the 7 member committee
recommendation government will make appropriate law.

We, all LGBTI Nepalese, are extremely happy and
proud on Supreme Court whose decision is extremely
progressive on such a difficult issue for our
society, especially on the matter of gender identity to the
possible extinct. This is the first time ever any
Supreme Court has spoken such a positive manner on
gender identity issues ever on the world. We salute
our honorable judges Balaram KC and Pawan Kumar
Ojha.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to
all friends, leaders, media, civil society,
international
support, political parties,  OHCHR, ICJ, National
Human Rights commission, Human Rights Watch, FWLD,
Front Line Defenders, ILGHRC, Lawyers Collective,
Alternative law forum, NFI, Outrageous, ARC
international and our lawyers (Hari Phunyal- ICJ,
Rup Narayan Shrestha- FWLD, Hari Upreti, Bhuvan Niraula,
Sarmila Dhakal, Prem Rai-ICJ,  Chandra Kanta
Gaywanli). I also salute our LGBTI communities who
have fought for years and stood for these rights
even in difficult times and situation, without whose
collective struggle it would have never been
possible.

We would like to express our hearty thanks to our
donors, LLH/Norad, HIVOS, Dutch Embassy, Astraea
Foundation, Sigrid Rausing Trust, CCOs, Sidaction,
Elton John Aids Foundation, FHI, PSI, DFID, Global
Fund for Women, Mama Cash, Urgent Action Fund, and
Butlars County and many more.

In solidarity

Sunil B Pant
Blue Diamond Society

Attached PIC by Usha Titikshu/SANGYA
group at the front yard of Supreme Court after the
historic decission.

http://www.insn.org

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