Nepal to enact new laws to recriminalize same-sex relations

Nepal is all set to enact new anti-gay laws to recriminalize same-sex relations, media have reported.

Nepal Justice Minister Narahari Acharya is to introduce those laws soon, says Nepal Times, the local English language daily.

Nepal in 2007 decriminalized same-sex relation and chose equality and protections for its LGBT citizens. However, the law ministry is currently preparing to enact anti-gay laws that will punish same-sex relations with three years imprisonment and prohibit same-sex unions.

Writing in the Nepal Times, Sunil Babu Pant, Nepal’s first openly gay politician pointed out how from 2009-2012, Nepal’s gender minorities were invited for their inputs into national policy and budget but that since then “there hasn’t been a single rupee allocated in the budget to support” the LGBT community.

“When taxing citizens the government does not discriminate, but when assuring citizens of their rights, the government wants to know your gender” or sexual orientation he said.

There has been a worrying trend of sidelining the needs and rights of Nepal’s LGBT population in the last few years, and the government is regressing from its previous progress through activism and Supreme Court decisions, Pant maintains.

He said that the Law Ministry is trying to enact punitive laws that re-criminalize LGBT relationships, completely overturning previous Supreme Court decisions.

“Before it passes any laws about us, the government should talk” to the LGBT community, added Pant, a member of the first Constituent Assembly.

“This new draft provision of civil and criminal codes prepared by the Law Ministry not only defines homosexuality, but also oral and anal sex among heterosexuals, as ‘unnatural’ acts,” he said adding that the notion that same-sex relationships are unnatural is absurd and wrong, as proven by Hindu historical and religious texts.

“The more we exclude and isolate LGBT people, the more we hurt everyone. Because if a person has no right to go to school, no right to get jobs, cannot contribute to the economy of the country, cannot contribute to the culture, they become burden to society,” wrote Pant, founder of the Blue Diamond Society NGO for the LGBT community.

This move is similar to that of neighboring India whose Supreme Court past December reinstated a British-colonial law that not only criminalizes same-sex relations between consenting adults but calls it unnatural. It chose to reverse a lower court’s 2009 ruling that decriminalized it and gave the gay community broad protections and rights.

Nepal and India are very close allies, with the much smaller Nepal heavily dependent economically on the much larger India.

India and Nepal share a common open border and whose citizens are free to enter and stay in each other’s country without travel documents or local registrations as required by those from other countries.

Both countries are predominantly Hindu and share a similar culture.

Source – Gay Asia News