LGBT activists from across Asia gathered this weekend to plan a strategy ahead of this summer’s United Nations Human Rights Council meeting.
The LGBT activists from over a dozen countries, met in Nepal this weekend to formulate a plan for overcoming problems in the region surrounding religion and culture. The event was also attended by Nepalese government officials.
Riddhi Baba Pradhan, Nepal’s Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare, commended attendees for going to the event.
Ms Pradhan said: “I laud the courage you have shown despite the circumstances you live and work in,
“This conference in Kathmandu proves that the common assertion that LGBT rights are incompatible with Asian values is false.”
At the seminar, a session took place to gather ideas towards developing region-specific recommendations for the UN human rights body, and noted problems faced by LGBT people in the region, and strategies to overcome them.
In a video speech to kick off the conference, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said: “Far too many people and governments still refuse to acknowledge the injustice of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and the hardship it causes.”
Sunil Baba Pant, a gay politician and LGBT campaigner said Nepal was proud to have been given the chance to host the event. He said: ”In Nepal we have strong traditions of respecting diversity, including in sexuality and gender.”
Mr Pant is seen to have started the LGBT rights movement in Nepal in 2001, when he founded an HIV and human rights support group.
“Not everyone in the world likes the lesbian or gay or transgender labels, so we have to make sure human rights are for everyone,” he continued.
In 2007, the country’s Supreme Court issued instructions to throw out all discriminatory laws, to look at same-sex marriage policies.