LGBTI human rights work in crisis in Nepal

Moral running low at Nepal's biggest LGBTI rights organization, Blue Diamond Society, where staff haven't been paid for seven months

LGBTI human rights work in crisis in Nepal
04 April 2013

Nepal’s biggest LGBT rights organization, Blue Diamond Society (BDS), is battling against low morale after wages have not been paid for seven months.

Founded in 2001, BDS successfully lobbied the government for recognition of a third gender and recently got LGBTI issues on the school curriculum.

It has achieved significant gains for LGBTI rights in the country but now their work is being thwarted by a government office.

The District Administration Office has sat on the charities’ license renewal so that funding from international bodies, including the Global Fund, cannot be distributed to the organization, which employs 750 staff and has 42 offices across the country.

‘It’s demoralizing,’ Saurav Jung Thapa, technical advisor to the HIV prevention program, told Gay Star News on a visit to their basic office in Kathmandu.

‘Most of the members of staff are from the LGBTI community so I think there’s a sense that it’s a mission and we’re going to get through this.’

Prasun Rana, a program manager said that some of their HIV prevention outreach workers who are ex-sex-workers are returning to sex work because they haven’t been paid for their jobs for so long.

‘It’s increasing the risk of HIV, when we are supposed to be decrease it,’ said Rana.

Founder of BDS Sunil Pant said that the head of the District Administration Office is also behind harassment of LGBT activists which has increased in the last few months.

‘He is the one that mobilizes the police and the harassment isn’t happening in other areas, it’s only happening in Kathmandu,’ said Pant. ‘So there’s a clear link.’

The UN’s Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) and Human Rights Watch have spoken out against the harassment and the non-renewal of BDS’s license, but the District Administration Office has not acted.

Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission and the Ministry of Health, who are supportive of BDS, have also contacted the District Administration Office urging allowing BDS to continue its work protecting LGBTI rights.

‘We provide vital vital programs,’ said Pant, ‘especially programs to do with HIV prevention, treatment for people living with HIV, human rights, legal assistance. It’s a humanity crisis for the LGBTI community in Nepal.’

But Pant said that the District Administration Office has not considered ‘the community’s amazing survival technique’.

‘We have been discriminated against and ostracized for so long, since childhood,’ said Pant. ‘So we are somehow used to this. People think we are powerless and voiceless but we have enormous power, enormous capacity to stand-on through any difficult situation. We don’t ever give-up.’ 

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Africa takes big step in trying to attract gay tourism

They hope to bring more education, awareness and visibility to LGBT travel in Africa
No thumbnail available

NZ Bishops anti-gay marriage call rejected by other clergy

A coalition of over 50 New Zealand Christian leaders have rejected a call by the country’s Catholic bishops for young voters to oppose marriage equality
No thumbnail available

Maltese MP wants bill to recognize LGBT families

An independent lawmaker says he is getting good signals from the Maltese Government that they will move to recognize the families of same-sex couples
No thumbnail available

Pat Robertson says it is possible to 'un-acquire' gayness

Pat Robertson tells a father on the air that a happy heterosexual relationship still possible for his son
No thumbnail available

Jersey Shore star apologizes for anti-gay tirade

US reality TV star Angelina Pivarnick says sorry for an anti-gay marriage rant during an online debate with out entertainer Adam Barta
No thumbnail available

A lesbian perspective on Thailand

Gay Star News interviews the founder of the first LGBT rights group in Thailand
No thumbnail available

Adam Lambert reveals his type of guy: Otters

Ghost Town singer talks about 'momentary freak-out' over Madonna's song of the same name
No thumbnail available

Madonna announces Rebel Heart world tour

Queen of Pop will visit Australia for the first time in over 20 years
No thumbnail available

Same-sex couple’s pregnancy announcement goes viral

The two women, wearing custom-made T-shirts, took to Reddit to announce the news of their forthcoming child
No thumbnail available

Police in Uganda raid gay rights meeting

Ugandan authorities reportedly interrupted a workshop on rights abuses