Last edited: August 20, 2004

U.N. Concerned About Gay Arrests in Nepal, August 16, 2004

By Beth Shapiro, 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 respected.

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