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Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, E/CN.4/2005/64/Add.1, March 29, 2005: Nepal

648. On 12 August 2004, the Special Rapporteur, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, sent an urgent appeal regarding several male transvestites and the Blue Diamond Society of Nepal, a non-governmental organization working with sexual minorities on sexual health, including HIV-AIDS, and campaigning for the rights of sexual minorities.

According to the allegations received, on 9 August 2004, 39 male transvestites, called metis, all members of the Blue Diamond Society, were arrested on the street and in public places, including bars and restaurants. They were, at the time this communication was sent, being held in Hanuman Dhoka police station and were not given food or drinking water for their first 15 hours in custody. They were not charged with any offence at the time this communication was sent. Concerns were expressed that their physical integrity might have been at risk.

On 25 July, the Police allegedly raped four male transvestites, J.B.L., R.L., B and M. They were reportedly stopped by the police at about 3:30 a.m. on a street near Jamal, forced into a police van, beaten, and their money was taken away. While driving around the city, the van stopped and one officer allegedly took J.B.L. into the street, beat him, forced him to perform oral sex and anally raped him. The men were then reportedly taken to Gausala police station, where R.L. was taken into the backyard of the police station, beaten and forced to perform oral sex. Although J.B. and R.L. managed to escape from the police, B and M were kept inside the van and were reportedly beaten and raped by approximately 12 policemen for around three hours. The Blue Diamond Society made a complaint to police authorities about this attack. Concern was expressed that the arrests might have been in retaliation to this complaint. A private writ was then filed with the Supreme Court of Nepal against the Blue Diamond Society, a non-governmental organization which is a member of the Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organizations. The writ called for the closing down of the Blue Diamond Society on the grounds that the organization “promotes homosexuality”. Concerns were expressed that defending this court action would seriously hinder the effective functioning of the Blue Diamond Society, given the organization’s limited human and financial resources, and that closing down the Blue Diamond Society would be detrimental to HIV-prevention efforts in Nepal. Concerns were also expressed that other organizations working in the area of HIV prevention could be open to similar charges.[111]

Link to full text of the report: Summary of cases-SR Freedom of Opinion-2005-eng