U.N. Concerned About Gay Arrests in Nepal
August 16, 2004
By Beth Shapiro, 365Gay.com Newscenter, New York Bureau
New York City—The Joint United
Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Monday voiced concern about the arrests
and reported mistreatment of nearly 39 gay men in Nepal.
The men are all members of the Blue Diamond Society. They
were swept up in a series of raids on August 9. A senior police spokesperson
said the men were indulging in illegal activities.
“We respect homosexuals as citizens,” said Devilal
Tamang. “However, we arrested them as they were indulging in acts prevented
by the law,” he said.
Sapana Pradhan Malla, a spokesperson for Blue Diamond,
said the arrests meant nothing but a way to harass minority communities.
The organization is the only LGBT rights group in the
tiny country sandwiched between China and India in the Himalayas. Last month,
police forcefully dispersed a crowd of gays who had marched on the Parliament
building to deliver a petition for civil rights to the Prime Minister.
Blue Diamond is also the only organization in Nepal
offering information on safe sex for gays.
In a statement issued today, UNAIDS said it “fully
supports” the work of the Blue Diamond Society. UNAIDS has conveyed its
concern over the detentions to the Government of Nepal and has called on the
authorities to allow Blue Diamond to continue to provide HIV services in an
atmosphere free from fear and intimidation where the human rights of all are
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