In a milestone ruling the Nepali Supreme Court has recognised the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people in that country.
On November 21 the Supreme Court ruled on a writ petition submitted by the Blue Diamond Society (BDS) and three other Nepali LGBTI groups demanding protection of their legal rights.
Their demands were threefold: to recognise the civil rights of transgender people without requiring them to renounce one gender identity for another; to create a new law preventing discrimination and violence against LGBT communities; and to require the state to make reparations to LGBT victims of state violence and/or discrimination.
After three hearings, the Court issued directive orders to the Government of Nepal to end discrimination against LGBTI people and ensure that they are afforded the same rights as heterosexual men and women as enshrined by the Constitution of Nepal and any human rights conventions to which Nepal is a signatory.
With regard to same-sex marriage, the Court issued an order for the formation of an independent seven member committee to conduct a study on other countries’ policies on same-sex marriage.
The government has been ordered to pass appropriate laws as recommended by the committee.
“We, all LGBTI Nepalese, are extremely happy and proud of our Supreme Court whose decision is extremely progressive on such a difficult issue for our society, especially on the matter of gender identity…” said Sunil B Pant of the Blue Diamond Society.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has congratulated Nepal’s LGBTI organisations on the ruling, exclaiming that, “You have set a new standard for LGBTI rights around the world.”