Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Following is a series of emails received today from Sunil Pant, director of the Blue Diamond Society in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Many of you know Sunil and Blue Diamond Society (BDS).   For those who don't, I met Sunil Pant at the Bangkok International AIDS Conference and have since corresponded with him at some length about the worsening situation for gays, MSMs and Metis (cross-dressing men) in Nepal.   I can vouch for Sunil's genuineness and accuracy.

BDS is a gay rights and HIV prevention organisation.  Its website is http://www.bds.org.np/   Andy Quan, who is referred to in the emails copied below, is the International Policy Officer with the the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO)

Some background is that a fundamentalist has recently brought proceedings in the Supreme Court of Nepal against the Nepali government calling upon the government to close down BDS as illegal and immoral. We don't know to what extent, if at all, this crackdown is inspired by or a response to that writ.

There is a history of violence against gays and Metis in Nepal. That violence involves the police. There is particular cause for concern for the safety and well-being of the 39 Blue Diamond Society members detained so far.

Please notify Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in your country.  Please feel free to publish the facts reported here - pass them on to other organisations.  Please take what steps you can to put pressure on the government of Nepal to make sure these people are released safe and sound and immediately.  At this stage, it is looking as if, to be successful, interventions will need to come from international agencies and other countries' government.

Thank you

David Buchanan


At 10:00 AM +0545 10/8/04, wrote:
Press Note
Date: 10.08.04

Last night around 22:30 PM 39 members of Blue Diamond Society were haphazardly arrested and taken to Hanuman Dhoka Police Station, center of investigation in the heart of Kathmandu. They have been detained till now without food and have been treated inhumanly without having any faults and we, Blue Diamond Society are very concerned. They were arrested along with other people from different occupation and this is against the Human Rights and rights of sexual minorities of any national or international laws. This also shows carelessness and discrimination done by the police. In addition the inhuman behavior done by the police is not only arresting but also brutally beating up the arrested MSMs, which is against any principles.

Thus, we request His Majesty Government of Nepal to release our captured members without any conditions. Basically, Blue Diamond Society is involved in purely promoting human rights and HIV awareness among sexual minorities in Nepal without any causing harm to anyone, thus we request HMG of Nepal and the other related organizations not cause any harm which may effect our memberâs basic human rights and not to repeat this kind of any activities in the future.

Sunil B Pant

At 2:58 PM +1000 10/8/04, Andy Quan wrote:
From: sunil@bds.org.np [mailto:sunil@bds.org.np]
Sent: Tuesday, 10 August 2004 2:51 PM
To: Andy Quan
Subject: Re: MSM are swiftly arrested in Kathmandu.

Dear Andy

We don't know the actual reason, the police saying "gays are not timely and the society is not ready to accept so gays are disturbing the society'. One of the sub inspector told me that its from the higher level of police doing. there have been pretty intense attacks and violence against our members recently. So they my come to the office and arrest anybody if the
government has adopted the policy to ban us. All the 39 members are still in costly with out food and water.

At 3:51 PM +1000 10/8/04, Andy Quan wrote:

The police is trying to file a case against our 39 members on Public offence. God knows how long they will have to suffer at the police custody without food and drinks.
Do something....

David Buchanan SC
Forbes Chambers
11/185 Elizabeth Street
Sydney     NSW     2000

Tel: +61 2 9390 7777
Fax: +61 2 9261 4600
Email: dbuchanan@forbeschambers.com.au


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