Bhutan Retains Criminal Status of Homosexuality.

The Legislative Committee of the National Council (Upper House of Parliament) has proposed to not repeal section 213 and 214 of the Penal Code.

The Committee is of the view that the complete removal of the sections would mean non-conviction of a range of other sexual crimes.

The National Assembly (Lowe House) had repealed it in the earlier session to decriminalise homosexuality.

“So much for GNH! (Gross National Happiness)

“The recommendation made by the Legislative Committee of the National Council is truly a overlooked decision made without any rationale.

The Legislative Committee of the National Council has failed to see the merit in recognizing the existence and the overall rights of the LGBTI population in Bhutan. The redundant section of the Penal Code affects the minority LGBTI community in our everyday life and the current unsightful recommendation will increase stigma and discrimination toward the community.” Rainbow Bhutan.

#JustIn: The Legislative Committee of the National Council (Upper House of Parliament) proposes not to repeal the sections 213 and 214 in the Code. The National Assembly (Lower House) repealed these sections, last year, and forwarded it to the National Council for further deliberations.

The Legislative Committee of the National Council has failed to understand what this recommendation means to the minority LGBTI population in the country.

  1. It undermines any consensual relationship between adults and subtly targets gay men, bisexual men and any other individuals who decides to stay in a mutual consenting relation
  2. The Legislative Committee of the National Council has failed to understand what “rape” and other “sexual crimes” means in the country. Today, they have openly failed to acknowledge that Bhutan has a very comprehensive laws specific to sexual crimes and section 213 & 214 of the Penal Code openly targets any same sex adult who engages in consensual sexual relationship.
  3. The definition of sex is not only penile vaginal sex. The mere absence of comprehensive sexuality education in our education system and the failure of people to understand sex beyond the conventional penile vaginal sex is clearly visible today.
  4. The section open doors for discrimination and harassment in the community, something they have failed to understand due to their hetero-normative previlage.
  5. The section openly challenges any consensual relationship between two same sex couple making their sexual relation a crime in the eyes of the law.

From: Tashi Tsheten, Director of Rainbow Bhutan