LGBT right campaigners have celebrated as Nepal has passed a new constitution which includes discrimination protections for LGBT people.

The new protections, against discrimination, violence and abuse, was celebrated by the Human Rights Campaign as “a historic first for a nation in Asia”.

In enshrining LGBT protections in its constitution, Nepal joins only a few other countries, including South Africa and Ecuador, to do so.

The constitution was endorsed by Nepal’s parliament on 16 September, and is the first to be passed into law since abolishing its monarchy in 2008.

It states that “sexual and gender minorities”, cannot be discriminated against by state or judiciary.

“This is a momentous step forward for LGBT equality in Nepal. The nation’s leadership has affirmed that its LGBT citizens deserve the constitutional right to live their lives free from discrimination and fear,” said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global.

“We congratulate LGBT Nepalis and their allies for this historic victory, and hope to see other nations across Asia and the globe take similar steps to ensure full legal equality for their LGBT citizens.”

The new constitution will be promulgated in a ceremony by President Ram Baran Yadav on Sunday 20 September.

Nepal earlier this year issued its first gender ‘x’ passport.

The only other countries which allow third-gender, or gender ‘x’ passports are Australia and New Zealand.

The move by Nepal has been hailed as a huge step forward by LGBT activists.

The country, which announced in January that it would introduce third gender passports, has been hailed as one of the most progressive on LGBT rights.

Nepal in 2011 added third gender categories to its census and citizenship cards.