12 October 2020, Kathmandu
An interaction program with media and concern stakeholders sharing UPR report on LGBTIQ+ rights has accomplished on Sunday organized by Federation of Sexual and Gender Minorities Nepal.
The Federation of Sexual and Gender Minorities Nepal, founded in 2007 is non-government organization with affiliation of 40 liberal organizations working for sexual and gender minorities community. It has been advocating for the rights of such community helping to form network and working for capacity development of its member organizations.
The Constitution of Nepal 2015 has guaranteed rights relating to sexual and gender minorities under Article 12, 18 and 42. Article 12 states that citizens may choose their preferred gender identity on their citizenship document. Article 18 prohibits the state and the judiciary from discriminating against gender or sexual minorities and allows the government to pass pro-LGBT laws that would help advance the rights of those minority groups. Similarly, Article 42 provides for the inclusion of LGBT people among the groups that have a right to participate in state mechanisms such as voting and a right to access public services.
However, the federation has strongly mentioned that these constitutional provisions have not been implemented practically so far. It has also mentioned that the community have been facing miserable situation time and again due to the discriminatory laws while government has remained silent to guarantee right to equality. Though constitution has guaranteed the right to participation of sexual and gender minorities community in state mechanism, LGBTI community itself has been neglected.
The Federation in coordination with Blue Diamond Society has already provided a UPR report addressing the human right issues of sexual and gender minorities to the Universal Periodic Review going to take place on January 2021. The upcoming UPR is the third cycle and prior to this, first and second cycle has already been accomplished in 2011 and 2015 respectively. As a third cycle, periodic review is taking place regarding the human right situation in Nepal on January 2021 in human right council. For the purpose, a report has been submitted by the Federation in coordination with Blue Diamond Society which includes the following.
In second cycle, Sweden has suggested Nepal government to take necessary actions for the effective implementation of the rights relating to sexual and gender minorities and this has been accepted by the government of Nepal though still lacking in the implementation part from government side.
Likewise, Brazil has suggested the Nepal Government to take necessary steps in order to effectively implement the provision of same-sex marriage (marriage equality) as per the decision and direction made by the Supreme Court. However, Nepal Government has not supported the decision while only noted it and did not take any positive ways forward.
Similarly, in second cycle Spain has suggested the Nepal Government to form special mechanism to conduct research and provide proper punishment on any discriminatory incident against the sexual and gender minorities and possible discrimination relating to administration which Nepal has accepted so far.
However, sexual and gender minorities are still being discriminated against in the process of issuing the citizenship with the recognition of their specific identity. They are deprived of getting citizenship that defines their gender condition and name as per their gender identity. Civil code and criminal code have also restricted their rights so far. With this, citizenship amendment bill has clearly mentioned that in order to amend the citizenship, clinical certificate of sex change is required which is discriminatory and not acceptable. The citizenship amendment bill itself is full of dictatorship which has even seized the constitutionally protected rights. The certificate is must to obtain gender preferred citizenship but there is lacking in the service of sex change in state level. Undergoing such surgery to obtain the citizenship is likely to be incorporated in the Citizenship Act and because the service cost is very high, all can not bear the expenses. Thus, the provision of obtaining citizenship on the basis of certificate of sex change should not be entertained in present context- the press release read.