Nepal Gay Group Threatened with Closure
July 28, 2004
Ben Townley, Gay.com UK
An international human rights body has called on
Nepal’s government to dismiss an attempt to shut down the country’s
leading gay rights groups.
Human Rights Watch says the threatened closure of the
Blue Diamond Society (BDS) would go against the right to freedom of
association and _expression, and could harm LGBT people in Nepal who rely on
the support network.
The BDS offers advice and information for LGBT people on
HIV/AIDS and the right to the acceptance of a sexually diverse community.
It is also attempting to pressurise the government into
decriminalising homosexuality. Although there is no law against homosexuality
in the country, legislation banning “unnatural sex” is often used to
arrest members of the LGBT community.
The group is facing a shut down after a private lawyer
petitioned the country’s supreme court calling for the BDS to be banned. The
lawyer said that because homosexuality was criminalised, the group should be
“In trying to stifle the voices of sexual minorities,
Nepal demonstrates its indifference to basic rights of _expression and
assembly,” said Scott Long, Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch.
“In trying to silence those who document police abuse,
the Nepalese government shows its determination to punish the messenger.”
He added that attempts to shut the group and its HIV
education wing down could “drive people at high risk even further
underground, and only worsens the spread of the pandemic”.
This is not the first time the BDS has faced controversy.
Earlier this month organisers say they were attacked whilst conducting a
peaceful march to the country’s Prime Minister.
The protestors were said to have been beaten by local
police officers during the march.
The government must now respond to the country’s
supreme court within 35 days.
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