Discrimination and Harassment in Nepal
Sexual minorities face widespread discrimination and harassment in Nepal. There have recently been an increasing number of violent attacks on Blue Diamond Society members and workers, and other sexual minorities, and the authorities have seemed unwilling to investigate. There have been frequent allegations that sexual minorities have been turned away when they attempt to report assaults to the police. On 5 July, a rally organised by the Blue Diamond Society to protest against recent police harassment of metis was allegedly broken up violently by police, who beat several of the protestors.
Police arrested 39 metis (male transgender) in Kathmandu on the night of 9 August, on the street and in public places including bars and restaurants. All are now held in Hanuman Dhoka police station, in Kathmandu. They were reportedly given no food or drinking water for their first 15 hours in custody, and have not been charged with any offence. Other metis are known to have been beaten and raped in police custody, and these 39 are in grave danger.
All the metis are members of the Blue Diamond Society, a local organization that provides sexual health, HIV/AIDS and advocacy services to sexual minorities, and campaigns for their rights. The organization is facing a possible Supreme Court ban on its activities, following a petition from a private individual on 18 June requesting that the Blue Diamond Society be banned because it was ''trying to make homosexual activities legal'' (Nepal's National Civil Code outlaws ''unnatural sex'' although this is not clearly defined). In response, the Supreme Court issued a writ demanding that the Ministry of Home Affairs and other authorities respond demonstrating why such a ban should not be imposed. The authorities have not yet responded.
Police in Kathmandu are alleged to have raped four metis, Jaya Bahadur Lama, Ramesh Lama, Binod and Madan, in the early hours of 25 July. Following a disturbance at about 3:30 am in a street near Jamal, police reportedly stopped the four metis, forced them into a police van, beat them and took their money. While driving around the city, the van stopped and one officer allegedly took Jaya Bahadur Lama into the street, beat him, forced him to perform oral sex and anally raped him. The metis were then reportedly taken to Gausala police station where Ramesh Lama was taken into the backyard of the police station, beaten and forced to perform oral sex. Although Jaya Bahadur and Ramesh Lama managed to escape from the police, Binod and Madan were kept inside the van and were reportedly beaten and raped by approximately 12 policemen for around three hours. The Blue Diamond Society made a complaint to police authorities about this attack and there is concern that the recent arrests may be retaliation for this complaint.
see Amnesty International Report and SEND LETTER
see ACT UP/Paris
see Blue Diamond Society website
20 August 2004
We are glad to inform that all 39 members of Blue Diamond Society who were
arrested on 9th August are released on bail charged 1000 Nrs each. Blue
Diamond Society has paid the bail 39000Nrs (530US$). Metis has to be
presented to the magistrate on 20th September 2004. All the Metis may have
to follow the dates for few times before the public offence charged case
We have no words to thank all the international and local organizations,
individuals, friends, governments, media and relatives for your solidarity
and support on this difficult time. This is just a quick note to inform you
this good news so that all the friends through out the world who have been
worried with this case have some releaved.
Thank you very much.
Sunil B Pant
Blue Diamond Society
Brief report of experience of Metis of their last 13 days:
According to the arrested metis, all of them were taken saying that they
were being taken for a meeting and needed them to identify the guy who'd
been caught under the suspicion of Jayaram's case. Some of them were
dancing inside Babylon disco and most of them were on their way to the
disco. The police that were their clients took them and most of them were
ones that they knew from before. They went with them because they
approached them in a friendly manner and told them that they were all being
taken for two hours meeting.
After they were taken they were all kept in a room that wasn't even big
enough for five people and said they would be freed after questioning them.
Most of the metis that were arrested were just out to enjoy themselves in
the discos and wanted a night of dancing.
Inside the prison on the first day when one of the metis wanted to use the
bathroom they didn't open the door and when he yelled at them to take him
to the bathroom they beat him up with a stick till it broke. Due to this he
suffered from fever and was all shaky and even after seeing his state the
police didn't take him to see the doctor or get any medications for him.
Three police came and when he asked them for the medicine they said we'll
get it and later just laughed. So Blue Diamond Society had to take the
medication for him after being informed.
The police also beat up another meti, Amber Majhi who was attacked by three
police after he protested after seeing a journalist videotaping them inside
the cell. This was yet another discrimination from the police, they
violated the rights of all the metis by letting the media expose them when
there are a lot of metis that haven't opened themselves at their homes and
could face difficulties later.
There was a lot of verbal harassments from the police, they called them
names and said they will shoot them when they protested against being
locked up for being innocent. They also said that "Acid should be put on
the face of the hijaras and that they don't deserve to live". The police
called them names and even got other people to see them. They were laughed
at and everyone feels like they were punished for a crime that they hadn't
done. They were kept for a long period of time and some were tortured
psychologically by saying they were going to be kept for more than six
months. Everyone feels like it was very inhuman from the police to trick
him or her into going with him or her and locking him or her up for no
reason at all. They didn't even give them any explanation as to why they
were being kept inside. They were just verbally abused.
While giving statement a lot of them were made to sign on something that
they couldn't read since there are a lot of illiterate metis in the
arrested 39. Others who could read were made to sign and not given a chance
to read what they were signing. They were all pressured and threatened and
made to sign on statements where anything could be written.
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