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Nepal to host UN seminar on LGBTI human rights

LGBTI rights activist said hosting the seminar is latest in string of achievements in fight for equality for sexual orientation and gender identity minorities in Nepal
LGBTI rights activist Sunil Pant, chair of Nepal's Blue Diamond Society

Nepal has received funding from the Norwegian government to host a UN regional seminar into sexual orientation and gender identity human rights.

'It speaks volumes to the success of the LGBTI rights movement in Nepal that the United Nations has identified is as the host country,' said Sunil Pant, chair of Nepal LGBT activists Blue Diamond Society and a former MP.

Pant added that the fact that Nepal's foreign ministry accepted the offer to host the event shows that they value the human rights of sexual orientation and gender identity minorities.

The UN regional seminar on sexual orientation and gender identity will take place in Kathmandu in March or April 2013, dates to be confirmed.

Government officials, scholars and activists from around the Asian region will attend the seminar and submit recommendations to the UN Human Rights Commission meeting coming up later this year in Geneva.

'We are very exited that Nepal taking lead to promote LGBTI equality in the regions. Despite all the challenges in Nepal, we are proud that we stand by human rights and celebrate human diversity,' Pant told Gay Star News. 'This must tell something to India and China, our close neighbors.'

Pant said he thinks Nepal's recent achievements in LGBTI rights - official recognition of a third gender on ID cards and sexual orientation and gender identity education in high schools - contributed to the UN choosing the Himalayan nation as the location for the seminar.

'The meeting will help to sensitize other governments in the regions on LGBTI issues,' added Pant. 'But also the direct benefit will be a strong UN resolution that protects LGBTI rights.' 

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