Nepal | November 30, 2020

Govt urged to protect rights, interests of LGBTI people

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The National Human Rights Commission today released a study report on Human Rights Status of Sexual and Gender Minorities, making a number of recommendations to the federal, provincial and local governments for the protection of rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

The report is based on interaction with LGBTI people in Jhapa, Morang, Parsa, Rautahat, Mahottari, Kaski, Rupandehi, Kailali and Kathmandu over the period of six months. It explores how sexual and gender minorities have been deprived of the human rights guaranteed by the constitution and various national and international laws. It has also suggested the ways to address the problems facing the people from the LGBTI communities.

In 2008, the Supreme Court had passed a judgement to end discrimination, reiterating that LGBTI people are defined as ‘natural persons’ and their physical growth as well as sexual orientation, gender identity, expression are all part of natural growing process.

Thus, equal rights, identity and expression must be ensured regardless of their sex at birth.

The apex court legalised same-sex marriage in 2015, but it has yet to be implemented.

Citing law on of same-sex marriage in 29 countries worldwide, the rights body recommended the Government of Nepal to be positive towards LGBTI people.

The report has made a 24-point recommendation to the federal government.

The recommendations include formulation of special laws by incorporating provisions to guarantee rights and interests of sexual and gender minorities; providing skill training and study scholarships; guarantee of employment; simplification in issuance of citizenship certificate and passport; making arrangement of necessary amount for surgery to be undergone for sex change, both from male to female and female to male; allowing them to adopt children; guarantee of paternal property and right to divorce.

It has made a 13-point recommendation to provincial governments, directing them to maintain records of sexual and gender minorities, allocate necessary budget to conduct programmes for them and make arrangement of seed money for them to carry out business activities. The report has also made a 13-point recommendation to local governments.

They include providing training for school teachers to encourage them to create LGBTI friendly environment and conduct public awareness programmes against discrimination against LGB- TI people.

The report warned that sexual and gender minorities were most affected in Madhes and urged all three tiers of the government to come up with special programmes to make them self-reliant.

Despite guarantee of their rights by the constitution LGBTI people have been perpetually discriminated and stigmatised due to their sexual orientation.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 2, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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