Last edited: January 23, 2005

Sexual Minorities/AIDS Group Fights Ban in Nepal Supreme Court, January 19, 2005

Nepal’s sexual minorities and AIDS group, Blue Diamond Society, is fighting a Government ban in the Honourable Supreme Court. The ban seeks to curb the activities of the society.

The case, filed by lawyer Achyut Prasad Kharel was taken up for hearing today, but was adjourned as it was the end of the day and there would have been no time for a proper hearing. writes Sunhil B. Pant in Kathmandu

Kharel is asking the court to rule that homosexuality be banned in Nepal.

According to the Nepali Times, Kharel “has deemed homosexuality to be antisocial, anti-religious, immoral and illegal” and what the Blue Diamond Society outlawed.

“Nepal does not have any law that specifically criminalizes or prescribe sanctions against sexual minorities or homosexual persons,” the Blue Diamond Society said in a statement following the court adjournment.

“This is totally consistent with the obligations of the International Human Rights Laws that are applicable to Nepal by virtue of its becoming party to the various Human Rights treaties like the ICCPR [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights] and ICESCR [International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights].”

This position has been upheld by the affidavits from the Home Ministry and the Law Ministry.

“Blue Diamond appreciates the position taken by the ministries in support of human rights of sexual minorities,” a spokesperson said, adding that the society had “full faith” in the Honourable Supreme Court.

“(We) hope that the Honourable Supreme Court will also stand by the side of Human Rights, accept the positions expressed by the ministries, and dismiss what is essentially a medieval minded misguided petition by an anti progressive, homophobic individual,” the spokesperson added.

If the court finds in favour of the society, it becomes effective and applicable law which will apply to all sexual minorities.

However, if the case fails, the Blue Diamond Society will take the matter to the Committee on Human Rights [CHR] in Geneva.

Nepal is a signatory to the optional protocol of ICCPR which means that any Nepali citizen who is aggrieved by any applicable law that violates their basic human rights can file a complaint before the CHR. In the past the CHR has deliberated on anti homosexual laws in the famous case of Toonen-Vs-Australia, where the CHR directed the Australian State of Tasmania to change its anti homosexual laws.

Mr. Rup Narain Shrestha from the FWLP appeared in court as the lawyer representing the Blue Diamond Socitey. Also in court was Mr. Aditya Bondyopadhyay, a Human Rights lawyer from New Delhi with expertise on issues of human rights of sexual minorities, who has been deputed by Naz Foundation International to assist the BDS and its legal team from FWLD in the case.

Observing proceeding were representatives of the German Embassy who had been directed by their Foreign Ministry to monitor the progress of the case as it has significant ramifications for the basic human rights of all sexual minorities in Nepal.

On Friday, the Blue Diamond Society launches Nepal’s first “alternative” weekly newspapersthe English language Blue Diamond Weekly and Nil Hira Saptahik, the Nepali language edition.

The aim of the 8 page weekly papers is to bring the ‘voice’ of oppressed communities to public attention and to sensitise the public at large on the issues that have been marginalized in the Nepali society.

They are intended to focus equally on all marginalized groups and their issues, viz: Human Rights, women’s issues, children’s issues, Sexuality, Gender Diversity, HIV/AIDS, Dalits and Janajatis, sex workers, etc.

Both titles will be launched by Greg Gibson, the Third Secretary at the British Embassy, at the Dechenling (Garden Restaurant and Bar) Kesharmahal, Thamel, Kathmandu.

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