Nepal on 20th September 2015 officially started recognizing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community in the country. Through the principle of inclusion, the government of Nepal now acknowledges all sexual and gender minorities as well as advocates for the use of gender neutral language.
The new constitution in Nepal also provides explicit Protection for LGBTI persons from discrimination, violence and abuse; a move that has made history as a first in Asia. Nepal’s Parliament endorsed the new constitution on September 16, making it the first constitution the republic has passed since abolishing its 239-year-old monarchy in 2008.
Nepal joins only a handful of countries, including South Africa and Ecuador, which have enshrined equal rights protections for LGBT people in their national constitutions. In a press release, the LGBTI community expressed their gratitude and humility at the decision and hoped to continue working with the policy makers to better the lives of all minorities.
Below is the press statement as released by the Sexual and Gender Minority community
Press Release, 20 September 2015
We all sexual and gender minority (SGM) community of Nepal would like to express our contentment for the formal promulgation of Nepal’s constitution 2015, as addressed by Hon. President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav today; September 20, 2015. We heartily welcome the new constitution that has included our rights for the first time.
We are very delighted that the “Constitution of Nepal, 2015” has granted constitutional rights to sexual and gender minority community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex/ LGBTI). Under the principle of “Inclusion”, the new constitution of Nepal has acknowledged “Sexual and Gender Minority” community in the article 18 (Right to Equality) &article 42 (Right to Social Justice) and the use of gender neutral language in article 12 (regarding Citizenship ID) has ensured the fundamental rights of sexual and gender minorities.Moreover article 18.2 also include health status as non-discrimination .People living with HIV and other disease are protected too by the ground ‘health status”.
With this, Nepal is in the list of very few countries in the world that provides constitutional rights to its sexual and gender minority citizen. In addition, with this progressive provision, Nepal will be an exemplary country to all the human rights advocates and institute in the world, including the one from developed countries.
This victory is not only the victory of sexual and gender minority community, but the victory of all Nepali citizens and all Nepali citizens should be proud of it. We all can proudly advocate the stature that Nepal has built in terms of “Inclusivity and Human Rights” in international platforms. Today, we all member of sexual and gender minority community have a feeling of being a full Nepali citizen; we feel proud of ourselves and our country.
Though the rights and responsibility provisions for SGM in the constitution is very few compared to other minority community, but we are glad that our country has found a passage that align us along with few countries in the world that has recognized the rights of its SGM citizens in their constitution. Thus, we are excited that SGM issues are embracedunder “equality and inclusivity”, and are hopeful that it will be mainstreamed in public government services and instruments.
We’ll continue our peaceful advocacy to ensure our further rights. We would like to thank all current Constituent Assembly (CA) members and previous CA members who played pivotal role on securing our rights constitutionally. We would also like to thank Sunil B Pant, previous CA member and founder of Blue Diamond Society, who has been instrumental for all these achievements. Our sincere gratitude to all the political parties, national and international organizations; UN agencies, human rights activists, civil society, journalist, and members of the community for their continual support. We hope to receive similar support to ensure our further rights and for the execution of the rights enshrined in the constitution in coming days.
We would like to convey our sincere commitment to work together with other Nepali citizen towards “New, Inclusive and Prosperous Nepal”.
Pinky gurung: Presiden
Manisha Dhakal : Executive Director
Blue Diamond Society, Nepal