Last edited: February 14, 2005

Abuses Against Sexual Minorities in India Denounced at the UN

UN Officials Lend Ground-Breaking Support

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
For Immediate Release: April 8, 2002

GENEVA—Today Mr. Aditya Bondyopadhyay denounced the treatment of sexual minorities in India at an NGO Briefing of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Mr. Bondyopadhyay described cases of discrimination, harassment, arrest, and torture, and he called on the UN to hold the government of India responsible for such abuses.

High ranking UN officials made a historic appearance at the briefing and affirmed the importance of defending sexual rights as part of the UN human rights work. Speaking at the Briefing were Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special, Rapporteur on Violence Against Women; Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, and Jan Doerfel, the assistant to the Special Rapporteur on Torture.

Ms. Jahangir stated that "there are lesbians and gays in every country of the world, and I believe there is no country in which they do not face abuse."

Mr. Bondyopadhyay presented a detailed complaint of the "Lucknow 4" case, in which four HIV prevention workers were charged with conspiring to commit "unnatural sexual acts" under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code , and were kept in detention without bail for periods from 45 days to seven months.

"The arrested four were beaten, denied food, forced to drink sewer water, abused regularly, and refused treatment when they got sick." stated Mr. Bondyopadhyay. "One of the arrested had his glasses stamped on and broken and had to spend 45 days’ incarceration with impaired vision."

"It is essential for the United Nations to hear the voices of the stigmatized and the marginalized directly," said Scott Long, Program Director at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the organization that brought Mr. Bondyopadhyay to Geneva to testify. "Courageous UN officials, such as Ms. Coomaraswamy and Ms. Jahangir, should be supported by all governments in the UN, as they continue to draw attention to these abuses."

The NGO Briefing was sponsored by IGLHRC as well as by the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), the International Lesbian and Gay Law Association, Pink Cross (Switzerland), the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), Amnesty International, and the International Service for Human Rights.

The Briefing was chaired by Mr. Yves de Matteis (Pink Cross and ILGA). In addition to Mr. Bondyopadhyay, Mr. Long, and the three UN officials, the briefing included remarks by Ignacio Saiz (Amnesty International), Helmut Graupner (International Lesbian and Gay Law Association), Alex Whinnom (Press for Change, United Kingdom), and Claudine Ouellet (ILGA).

Full text of Mr. Bondyopadhyay remarks is available at

For IGLHRC’s action alerts on the "Lucknow 4" case see

The mission of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is to secure the full enjoyment of the human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression, and/or HIV status. A US-based non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO), IGLHRC effects this mission through advocacy, documentation, coalition building, public education, and technical assistance.

For additional information, contact:

Sydney Levy, +1-415-255-8680 (office), +1-415-577-8680 (cell),

Scott Long (in Geneva, use this number until Saturday April 13): +41-79-470-1782

Aditya Bondyopadhyay (in Geneva, use this number until Saturday April 13): +41-79-470-1782

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