U.N. Group Asks Nepal to Free Gay Activists
August 17, 2004
By Ben Townley, Gay.com U.K.
SUMMARY: The United Nations has
added its voice to those calling for the release of gay activists in Nepal,
after they were arrested by local police.
The United Nations has added its voice to those calling
for the release of gay activists in Nepal, after they were arrested by local
The U.N.’s primary agency for HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS,
released a statement Monday “voicing concern” for those who were being
detained for no apparent reason.
Nearly 40 people were arrested earlier this month, in
raids targeting gay venues in Kathmandu.
The arrests followed reports of violent abuses against
gay men, particularly those members of the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), a
support network for the country’s sexually diverse communities that also
offers advice on HIV/AIDS.
All of those detained are members of the BDS.
“UNAIDS fully supports the Blue Diamond Society’s
work with sexual minorities on HIV prevention, care and support, as well as
human rights issues,” the agency said in a statement.
It added that it will be contacting the Nepalese
government, with a view to getting the detainees released immediately, as well
as protecting the rights of all human rights groups in the country.
The U.N. is not the first international body to get
involved in the situation.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently called for pressure to
be put on the country’s government to ensure the safe release of the civil
“The Blue Diamond Society has faced harassment from the
Nepalese government as they defend the rights of some of the most vulnerable
members of society,” said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender Rights Project at HRW.
“In a context of an escalating civil war, respect for
the rule of law is steadily eroding in Nepal,” said Long. “Nepalese
authorities must show their commitment to ensuring basic rights for all people
The government is yet to comment, but is in the process
of detailing a response to the country’s supreme court, after it heard a
complaint accusing the BDS of “promoting homosexual activity.”
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