Activists denounce Govt’s policies, programmes for “neglecting” sexual minorities

Activists denounce Govt’s policies, programmes for “neglecting” sexual minorities

Kathmandu : Despite constitutional guarantees to protect sexual and gender minorities, the government has yet to make and implement related laws.

While policies aim to empower various marginalised groups, the policies and programmes for the next fiscal year, 2024/25 have failed to address the specific community as per the constitution.

In these policies and programmes presented by President Ramchandra Paudel on Tuesday, economic and social development programmes have been announced to generate incomes, develop capacity and empower the poor and disadvantaged, Dalits, tribal, single and disabled women, Kamalari, Kamaiya, Chepang, Bote, victims of violence, gender and sexual minorities, HIV infected people, and the deprived.

But, they have only mentioned ‘gender minorities’, excluding ‘sexual minorities’ entirely, drawing the attention of Nepal’s sexual and gender minority community.

In Article 18 of the Constitution, it has been said that “it shall not be considered prohibited to make special arrangements for the protection, empowerment and development of the citizens of gender and sexual minorities”.

Article 42 states that “gender and sexual minorities shall have the right to participate in state bodies based on the principle of proportional inclusion”.

Commenting on the policies, Sunil Babu Pant, Asia’s first openly gay former member of the parliament of Nepal and Executive Director of ‘Mayako Pahichan Nepal’ (MKPN) has expressed his disappointment on social media, “Only two words–gender minorities–have been mentioned in the government’s policies and programmes. What more is there to say?”.

Anik Rana, President of ‘Sahasi Kadam Nepal’ and a third gender rights activist, sarcastically replied, “Apparently, the government acknowledges the existence of the community in the society.”

MKPN has considered the government’s policies and programmes mere rhetoric. “We have been fighting for the rights of sexual and gender minorities for so many years, but without substantial changes.”

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