Four transgender youths in Nepal have become the latest victims of institutionalised hate directed against sexual minorities in the country.

Five Nepalese transgender youths, known as meti, were brutally beaten, sexually abused and insulted by police in Kathmandu on the night of July 14th.

Their crime is said to be carrying condoms for their own use.

The incident occurred when five metis were meeting up in a park in the heart of the country’s capital, Kathmandu.

They were approached by police, questioned and strip-searched – officers ‘checked’ for signs of sexual intercourse by examining their genitals.

A gay rights representative from Blue Diamond Society (BDS), a sexual minorities and AIDS group, who tried to stop the incident was told not to be impertinent and then beaten.

Two policemen who arrived after a meti dialled emergency services ‘watched silently’ as the assaults continued.

The incident came on a day when gay and human rights workers, backed by the Dutch government, were scheduled to hold a meeting between metis and politicians from Nepal’s leading parties.

Blue Diamond Society has approached the abusive police officers on behalf of the victims to explain their vicious and dehumanising behaviour.

The police has acknowledged to BDS, as well as representatives of Human Rights Watch, that such beatings are regular police practice, adding that their carrying condoms is evidence of illegal acts.

The metis were accused of prostitution and beaten with batons for their ‘unnatural and illegal sexual behaviour.’

The police threatened to put them behind bars but changed their minds.

The country currently has no explicit law which criminalises homosexuality.

The meti were victimised because of the police’s institutionalised campaign against Ratna Park, which is, according to them, a regular gay and transgender meeting place.

The assualted meti were later hindered from filing a complaint at the police station and then chased out by threatening police officers.

Such an attitude to condoms in a country which faces an endemic rise in HIV infections, especially in certain high risk groups, is at cross purposes with the United Nations’ Development Projects’ efforts to support AIDS awareness.