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Nepal’s Gay Community Faces Recriminalization Under Proposed Laws

Nepal’s Gay Community Faces Recriminalization Under Proposed Laws

Nepal’s much praised acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens looks set to face a huge challenge in the coming weeks as a newly proposed criminal code is reported to contain provisions barring same-sex couples from marriage and, even more troubling, to once again criminalize “unnatural sexual offences.”

In November 2008, Nepal’s Supreme Court affirmed the rights of Nepal’s gay community to be treated equally and instructed the government to amend laws to meet that standard. The landmark judgment also required the government to make provisions recognizing same-sex unions when the country’s new constitution was written.

However, reports suggest the government is now looking to defy that ruling.

From Mangalorean
:

“The law and justice ministry, in consultation with judges, has completed the drafts of a new criminal code and a civil code of law, which were submitted in parliament recently after being approved by the council of ministers.

If the 601-seat parliament endorses them, Nepal will get new legal codes, a move which however has brought no joy to its burgeoning gay community.

[...]

The marriage clauses in the new codes define the union as only that between a man and a woman, treating homosexual unions as “unnatural sex offences”.

“The proposed civil and criminal laws contain provisions to re-criminalise so-called ‘unnatural sexual offenses’,” [Manisha Dhakal, a transgender senior member of the Blue Diamond Society, told a UN Rights Forum.]

More on Manisha’s comments to the UN from Times of India:

“The proposed civil and criminal laws by the Ministry of Law, which have been tabled in the Nepali parliament, contain provisions to re-criminalize so-called ‘unnatural sexual offenses’ and to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. These attempts by the law ministry are a clear sign not to follow international human rights standards, a clear intention not to implement Supreme Court’s decision and also go against the spirit of the interim and new draft constitution of Nepal.”

Nepal’s gay community is now calling on the international community to make the Nepal government implement the Supreme court’s decisions fully and ensure that the proposed civil and criminal laws are amended to ensure the human rights and equality of sexual and gender minorities.

Nepal has heavily courted foreign LGBT communities since the 2008 ruling, advertising as a gay tourist destination with the jewel in the crown being Himalayan venues for same-sex unions.

Recriminalization of homosexuality in the country’s new constitution, a document that was supposed to uphold the rights of all citizens regardless of sexuality, will therefore not only be financially troubling for the nation’s citizens but will also raise serious ideological questions about the government’s interests and its commitment to human rights.

 

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to brainchildvn.

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21 comments

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6:00AM PDT on Jun 28, 2011

The prediction was anarchy…so said former NY Giants Superbowl star David Tyree. He was talking about the results of the hotly contested gay marriage bill which just passed in New York, granting the right to gays the nation over to…God forbid…tie the knot. Just what could he mean by anarchy? Could he mean the national rush of drag queens to Kleinfeld Bridal—of television reality fame—to ‘say yes to the dress’? Did he mean that traditional brides would have to plan that much further in advance as all the good ballrooms of Manhattan will be scooped by the double income no kids, DINKs, flush with cash and desire to outdo the last do? Or is it something simpler, like public displays of affection springing up everywhere—handholding, kisses goodbye? I dare ask, has Tyree ever walked through Chelsea? If it means anarchy…bring it on. The last time I understood true anarchy was during the LA Riots where people of Tyree’s own ethnicity took to the streets to burn what they could to…I guess…make a point and scare a nation. Fears not Tyree, gays are scared of fire—too much product in our hair makes us more combustible than the average straight guy. There will be no burnings in the streets.

9:39AM PDT on Jun 17, 2011

Could 'The Family' be behind this, as they were behind Uganda's draconian measures against gays?

6:03AM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

This is a terrible mistake on Nepal's part. I think that all countries should recognise the fact that two people want to proclaim their love for eachother- and how dare they call in unnatural? Homosexuality is found in over 1500 animal species, yet homophobia is found in just one.

6:03AM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

This is a terrible mistake on Nepal's part. I think that all countries should recognise the fact that two people want to proclaim their love for eachother- and how dare they call in unnatural? Homosexuality is found in over 1500 animal species, yet homophobia is found in just one.

6:02AM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

This is a terrible mistake on Nepal's part. I think that all countries should recognise the fact that two people want to proclaim their love for eachother- and how dare they call in unnatural? Homosexuality is found in over 1500 animal species, yet homophobia is found in just one.

3:08AM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

Very sad and a backward step for Nepal if this happens. I sincerely hope that this attempt fails.

10:26PM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

Yes, We need action, not just comment!

9:37PM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

Can we get over the fear and celebrate human beings?

5:46PM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

Is there a petition to stop this?

11:27AM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

LOVE can never be considered unnatural.
This is so absurd for me...

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