Sunil B. Pant - at the UNCHR. March 2004 Geneva
39 members of Blue Diamond Society arrested
Following is an email received today from Sunil Pant, director of the Blue Diamond Society in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Many of you know Sunil and Blue Diamond Society (BDS)
. For those who don't, I met Sunil Pant at the Bangkok International AIDS Conference and have since corresponded with him at some length about the worsening situation for gays, MSMs and Metis (cross-dressing men) in Nepal. I can vouch for Sunil's genuineness and accuracy.
BDS is a gay rights and HIV prevention organisation. Andy Quan, who is referred to in the emails copied below, is the International Policy Officer with the the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO)
Some background is that a fundamentalist has recently brought proceedings in the Supreme Court of Nepal against the Nepali government calling upon the government to close down BDS as illegal and immoral. We don't know to what extent, if at all, this crackdown is inspired by or a response to that writ. Please contact your nepalese embassy.
There is a history of violence against gays and Metis in Nepal. That violence involves the police (see last case reported by BDS
just a few days ago). There is particular cause for concern for the safety and well-being of the 39 Blue Diamond Society members detained so far.
Please notify Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in your country. Please feel free to publish the facts reported here - pass them on to other organisations. Please take what steps you can to put pressure on the government of Nepal to make sure these people are released safe and sound and immediately. At this stage, it is looking as if, to be successful, interventions will need to come from international agencies and other countries' government.
Last night around 22:30 PM 39 members of Blue Diamond Society were randomly arrested and taken to Hanuman Dhoka Police Station, detention center in Kathmandu. They have been detained till now without food and have been subjected inhumane treatment. We here in the Blue Diamond Society are very concerned. They were arrested along with other people from different occupation and this goes against established international human rights laws. This also shows the carelessness and discriminatory attitude of the police. In addition to the unjustified arrests and detention, the brutal treatment of those arrested due to their sexual orientation is particulary disturbing.
Thus, we request His Majesty Government of Nepal to release our captured members without any conditions. Basically, Blue Diamond Society is involved in purely promoting human rights and HIV awareness among sexual minorities in Nepal without any causing harm to anyone, thus we request HMG of Nepal and the other related organizations not cause any harm which may effect our memberâs basic human rights and not to repeat this kind of any activities in the future.
Sunil B Pant
Director Blue Diamond Society