BRIDGES TO JUSTICE: CASE STUDY OF LGBTI RIGHTS IN NEPAL – REPORT – NEPAL

Astraea Lesbian Foundation published the ‘Bridges to Justice’ report in 2015. This report explores Nepal’s LGBTI rights movement through a study of legal cases and political developments. The report details the background of the movement, the success in achieving social progress and how it has impacted the LGBTI people in Nepal.

LEGAL SUCCESS

In 2004, the Blue Diamond Society (BDS) and other LGBTI activists gathered at public places to protest the discrimination faced by the community in Nepal. They faced public scorn for their activism.

A law student named Achyut Prasad Kharel also went to the Supreme Court demanding that the government dissolve the Blue Diamond Society. He argued that the organization’s activities supported “bestiality/unnatural sexual intercourse” which is an offence under Nepal’s Muluki Ain (country code). The registrar of the Supreme Court dismissed the petition, stating it as ‘endorsed rejection’.

Kharel approached the court against the rejection. A single-judge bench reviewed the petition and held the dismissal as invalid. Several activists and international organisations challenged the dismissal on the basis of international principles, such as the Yogyakarta principles. Finally court rejected that petition.

Following this success, LGBTI activists filed a case in the supreme court for the legal recognition of transgender persons. They were successful in their struggles. The Supreme Court recognised transgender persons in Pant vs. Nepal Government.

POLITICAL REPRESENTATION AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM 

The report claimed that Sunil Babu Pant, head of BDS, had made the parliament “Nepal’s most representative elected body to date”. Likewise, it reinstated Pant’s view that, the period around 2006, was the right time for reformation because it was the moment when people struggled for a ‘New Nepal’.  As a result of several protests and activism, The Constitution of Nepal included the rights of sexual minorities.

CHANGING MINDS

The report emphasised that several activists have advocated for more public awareness of LGBTI rights. Finally, it listed several recommendations that were made by civil society organisations, activists, and researchers to realise LGBTI rights in Nepal.

READ FULL REPORT HERE