Last edited: August 20, 2004

Gay Rights Activists Arrested in Nepal

The Advocate, August 17, 2004

The arrest of 39 members of a gay rights-AIDS advocacy group in Nepal has drawn the criticism of one U.N. agency. UNAIDS on Monday urged the Nepalese government to ensure that other advocacy workers providing AIDS advice are able to work freely, Agence France-Presse reports. “UNAIDS is deeply concerned about the recent detention and reported mistreatment of 39 members of the Blue Diamond Society, a Nepalese AIDS nongovernmental organization working with sexual minorities,” the agency said in a statement released from Geneva. The agency said it fully supports the work of Blue Diamond, whose members were detained on the evening of August 9. The arrests were earlier reported as having taken place on August 7.

Police last week said the 39 Blue Diamond Society members, who were rounded up in raids on bars and clubs in Nepal, face charges of spreading perversion. The Blue Diamond Society is seeking international support to ward off calls for it to be declared illegal. A petition seeking the group’s ban is pending before Nepal’s supreme court, with the government yet to state its position. Leading international human rights group Human Rights Watch has demanded that Nepalese authorities release the group.

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