Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Update on the Supreme Court Case in Nepal:

From: Blue Diamond Society
18th January 2005

Update on the Supreme Court Case in Nepal:

The case filed by a lawyer Mr. Achyut Prasad Kharel, against the government seeking directions that bans the activities of Blue Diamond Society was taken up for hearing today by the Honourable Supreme Court, but was then adjourned as it was the end of day and there would have been no time for a proper hearing. Mr. Rup Narain Shrestha [Advocate], from the FWLD attended the court on behalf of Blue Diamond Society as their lawyer. Mr. Aditya Bondyopadhyay, a Human Rights lawyer from New Delhi with expertise on issues of human rights of sexual minorities, who has been deputed by Naz Foundation International to assist the BDS and its legal team from FWLD in the case, was also present in the court.

Also present in the court were representatives of the German Embassy who had been directed by their Foreign Ministry to monitor the progress of the case as it has significant ramifications for the basic human rights of all sexual minorities in Nepal.

Statement from Blue Diamond Society on the case:

Nepal does not have any law that specifically criminalizes or prescribe sanctions against sexual minorities or homosexual persons. This is totally in consonance with the obligations of the International Human Rights Laws that are applicable to Nepal by virtue of its becoming party to the various Human Rights treaties like the ICCPR [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights] and ICESCR [International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights]. This position has also been upheld by the affidavits of the ministry of Home, the ministry of Law, and the CDO office, that has been filed in this case before the Honourable Supreme Court. Blue Diamond appreciates the position taken by the ministries in support of human rights of sexual minorities. Blue Diamond also has full faith in the honourable judiciary and hopes that the Honourable Supreme Court will also stand by the side of Human Rights, accept the positions expressed by the ministries, and dismiss what is essentially a medieval minded misguided petition by an anti progressive, homophobic individual.

Blue Diamond understands that should the Honourable Supreme Court find in favour of the petitioner in this case, then it becomes effective and applicable law against all sexual minorities in Nepal. However such a finding shall not be the end of the matter. Although it is unlikely that the Honourable Supreme Court will go against the grain of applicable Human Rights; in such an unfortunate eventuality, Blue Diamond shall take up the matter to the Committee on Human Rights [CHR] in Geneva.

It is significant to mention here that Nepal being a signatory to the optional protocol of ICCPR, any Nepali citizen who is aggrieved by any applicable law that violates their basic human rights can file a complaint before the CHR.  In the past the CHR has deliberated on anti homosexual laws in the famous case of Toonen-Vs-Australia, where the CHR directed the Australian State of Tasmania to change its anti homosexual laws. Blue Diamond asserts that this ruling of CHR is applicable Human Rights Law and Standard in Nepal, and if it feels aggrieved at any stage that the human rights of sexual minorities are not protected in Nepal, then it shall surely approach the CHR with a complaint.

In the meantime Blue Diamond is taking all necessary steps with the help of its Lawyers from FWLD and the legal assistance provided by Aditya Bondyopadhyay from Naz Foundation International to provide adequate defence and contest to this misguided petition.

Sunil B Pant
Blue Diamond Society


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