Two young Nepalese women, who were detained for over a month in a Maoist camp on suspicion of being lesbians, were finally freed by their captors last week.

According to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Right Commission (IGLHRC) The Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal’s only LGBT rights activist organisation, announced the news and reported that while in the Maoist camp, the detainees were pressured to live a “straight life” and were forced to carry weapons against their will.

Reports published by Times of India (April 9, 2007), claim that the two detainees, Dukhani Choudhary (16), and Sarita Choudhury (20), were day-labourers working for an HIV/AIDS advocacy NGO in Pakali village, in southern Nepal.

They were arrested on March 2 on their way to work and were sent to a Maoist camp where they were interrogated for six hours and were told that they would have to “undergo a blood test to check if they were lesbians.”

After their arrest, the women were not allowed to contact the outside world and despite BDS’ efforts, no one knew about their whereabouts. Sunil Pant, president of BDS informed the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Biratnagar of the disappearance of the two women, but the office’s main concern was that Dukhani was a minor.

The recent incident comes amid a new wave of discouraging comments and homophobic actions by Maoists. Last month, an influential Maoist women’s leader Hisila Yami told a panel organised by BDS that “We don’t punish homosexuals but we also don’t encourage homosexual behaviour.”

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