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Government-sponsored homophobia in Nepal

in NEPAL, 05/07/2004

Blue Diamond Society organizes a protest rally

Repeated torture and sexual assault by police against Metis
(Cross dressing Males) in Kathmandu.

I am writing to express deep concern over the occurrence of violations of fundamental human rights in Nepal against Metis and MSWs (male sex workers).

It has been 3 years since Blue Diamond Society started raising such issues whenever human rights violations against sexual minorities occur either from Government agencies or from society in general or individuals. Despite having several interactions with the Police and other related parties the situation has not improved; indeed, it is getting worse.

The latest incidents indicate that law enforcement agencies, including the police and army, enjoy impunity when they target and oppress anyone who expresses their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Blue Diamond Society urges the Nepali Government, especially the Police, to take strong measures to stop human rights violations against us and to protect us from homophobic actions against sexual minorities in Nepal.

To protest the degrading behaviour, Blue Diamond Society is
organizing a peaceful protest rally to demand the following:

- We demand the immediate end of sexual oppression and assault
against sexual minorities by the police and society

- We demand the thorough investigation of all the violence
against sexual minorities from police and the other parties and that the
perpetrators be brought to justice.

- We demand the immediate end of sexual oppression and
degrading behaviour against all sex workers.

- We demand immediate de-criminalization of sexual minorities
and equal rights as other human beings in our society

- We demand immediate end of “condom violence” by the police and
the entertainment business owners.

- We demand the immediate change on the constitution to
recognise the existence of Nepalese sexual minorities.

Time: 4:30 PM

Place: Rally starts from BhadraKali Temple, Kathmandu.

We ask your continue support to protect human rights of Sexual
Minorities and join us tomorrow.

Repeated torture and sexual assault by police against Metis
(Cross dressing Males) in Kathmandu.

Yesterday, 3rd July 2004, at 11PM in Jamal, 7 Metis (Suntali, Nepti, Kali and others) members of Blue Diamond Society, were abused by police patrolling in cars while walking along the road to go to a Discothèque some for fun, others to be able to make enough money to support their family and survive. The police officers shouted: “Hijras, Chakkas, you should all be killed, dirty animals you have anal sex and oral sex, do this to us also.” But the Metis didn’t react knowing that the police would beat them or take their money and force them to have sex if they said anything back. After 5 minutes the police returned, approached them again after a small ride and started to ridicule them.

About 25-30 police men in their uniform from Police headquarters beat the 7 cross-dressing males around an oriental restaurant close to the Royal Palace. They were accused of being homosexual, and were forced to perform oral sex and anal sex, they were called “Hijras” and “Chakkas” derogatory names for gay people. They were accused of being members of the Blue Diamond Society. Some of the police officers said they would burn down the Blue Diamond Society accusing it of teaching anal sex to the Metis. Nepti replied, “Is the Nepal Police Department teaching you to have sex with Metis? How can you ask us to have sex with you? Who teaches you all this?” She was beaten with a gun by three policemen.

After about an hour another police van arrived and stopped the policemen from headquarters from beating the Metis. The Durbar Marg police took the Metis to the police station and release them after 3 hours saying the assaulters were from the Headquarters so the police from Durbar Marg couldn’t do anything.

Similar police abuse happened last week in the Baudha area; three Metis were beaten and robbed by police.

Unfortunately, the cases mentioned here are not isolated incidents. They are indicative of a pattern that repeats itself everyday where the silence of the government and the impunity of the police and army violate the human rights to life, personal dignity, bodily integrity, and security of all people of sexual minorities expressing their sexuality and gender identity. This impacts their economic standing and also is harmful to their health, as intervention to prevent HIV/AIDS amongst them cannot take place in a positive and safe environment.

Sexual Minorities (Meti, Ta, Dohori, Singaru, Maruni, Strain, Kothi, Fulumulu, Lesbian women, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender men and women, Hijras and many more) in Nepal are extremely frustrated that despite our efforts to cooperate with different organizations including the Police, the Army and business owners, we are discriminated against on the basis of our sexual orientation or gender identity. We are tortured and ill treated in Police custody. Many of us face violence from the community or from our families because of our sexual orientation or gender identity. Many Government officials, driven by prejudice, refuse to protect us. That’s why we find ourselves in an extremely difficult situation in our own country.

We believe that human rights cannot be denied on the basis of Sexual orientation or gender identity and all people must enjoy all human rights equally.

In Solidarity,

Sunil Babu Pant
Director / Blue Diamond Society
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