Friday, September 01, 2006

Blue Diamond Society Questions re: New Nepal Constitution

I spotted the following on a mailing list i am on, and i thought it worth reposting here.

The new Nepalese constitution represents a radical leap forward for the people of Nepal, yet questions remain about how far the changes will go. Especially of concern is how trans people, queers and sex workers will fare, as these groups have suffered oppression and marginalization both under the monarchy, but also are viewed less than sympathetically by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the most important progressive organization in the country.

What follows is a statement released yesterday by the Blue Diamond Society, an LBGT NGO based in Kathmandu:

Blue Diamond Society: Rights of sexual minorities and others

Nepal Interim Constitution, Will PLWHA, and other vulnerable communities have rights?

The Nepal's interim constitution have failed to ensure the rights of sexual minorities, gender minorities, PLWHA and Sex workers and provide any protection despite of our continuous lobbying and providing written recommendation to the drafting committee. Now we its time we need to do more and we call for your support and solidarity.  Comments/questions on the Interim constitution of Nepal Part 2, 3 and 11 Citizenship

Part 2
1. Every Nepali citizen shall have the rights to citizenship, and no one shall be deprived of the rights without proper reasons.

(comment: will Nepalese Gender minorities like Metis (effeminate cross dressing males and other trans-gender) will have right to citizenship as trans-gender person? As in the past many transgender persons have been denied citizenship.)

Part 3
Fundamental Rights and Duties
1. Fundamental Rights
i. All citizens shall be equal before the law. No discrimination shall be made against any citizen on the grounds of ethnicity, class, gender, region, language, culture and ideology or conviction.

(Comments: No mention of sexual orientation, gender identity. health condition, profession etc. marginalized groups like Sexual minorities, gender minorities, sex workers and people with health condition like HIV positive people thus are not protected against discrimination)

ii. Every citizen shall have freedom to express and publish opinions, establish associations and organizations, elect representatives and be elected, move across the country, assemble and carry on any occupation. No person shall be deprived of their personal liberty save in accordance with the law.

(Comment: will this article allow sex workers to work freely with out prosecution and coercion? And will Metis (effeminate cross dressing males), homosexual males and females and transgender, PLWHA who are deprived from education, getting job, housing and brutally abused even walking in the public places be free from discrimination and such abuses ?)

iii. Education, health, shelter and employment shall be the birthrights of every citizen.

(comment: will this ensure health care and treatment to every one including people with HIV and many other with specific health conditions? will Metis and other vulnerable/marginalized groups be able to go to school and get jobs? )

iv. Every citizen shall have the right against untouchability, social discrimination and exploitation.

v. Patriarchal exploitation of women in all forms shall end. Daughter shall have equal rights to parental property at par with son. Women shall be entitled full freedom in the issues of marriage, sale and purchase of properties, divorce or conception or abortion of pregnancy. Special rights shall be guaranteed for women in all sectors including their representation in state bodies.

(Comments: What about Metis (transgendered), their rights to property, marriage etc.)

Part 11
Constituent Assembly
1. As decided by the Interim Government, the elections to the Constituent Assembly shall be held within a year from the date of enforcement of this Constitution.

2. Ensuring inclusive and proportionate representation, the Constituent Assembly shall have a total of 225 members, including ten each from the nine autonomous republic states totalling 90, 125 directly elected with one seat equivalent to 200,000 people as well as ten nominated from among experts and the endangered and marginalized
ethnic groups.

3. Women, oppressed nationalities, dalits, the disabled etc. shall be included in the Constituent Assembly in proportion to their population.

(Comment: Representation from Sexual Minorities and Gender Minorities and other vulnerable groups must be ensured!)

In Solidarity
Sunil Pant
Blue Diamond Society

(this statement can also be viewed on the International Nepal Solidarity Network site)

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