KATHMANDU, July 18, 2007 –
Nepal’s Blue Diamond Society (BDS) was told today to stop its ‘Care Support’
sexual health outreach programme in Dhangadi and “to look for something
better to do”.
This is causing further grave
concern over the level of homophobia that exists amongst the Government
officials and NGO workers in Nepal, BDS says.
It was two months ago that BDS set
up the scheme, funded by the Elton John Aids Foundation and Sidaction in
France, because of the increasing number of those living with HIV in the
Dhangadi area in the far west of Nepal.
The plan was to coordinate and
provide care support to those with HIV and their sexual partners.
Since the scheme started two months
ago, more than 15 people living with HIV have been sent to Kathmandu for
further support, treatment and hospice facility. The scheme dos not
discriminate on grounds of sexuality, working with both the MSM and MSW
communities, as well as TG groups.
At a regular monthly meeting
organised by the District Public Health Office, BDS outreach educator Ram
Awatar said he was astounded at what was said.
Krishna Bhatta, the Public Health
Officer said that the “anus doesn’t have any sexual tissues, that’s why
there is no chance of HIV/AIDS transmission” and that “there [are] no MSM/MSW/TG
in Dhangadi, so I believe this Care and Support program in Dhangadi for MSM/MSW/TG
is absolutely unnecessary”.
Then, Ms. Durga Shrestha from BASE,
an NGO, told at the meeting: “If we allow this program in Dhangadi, this
will promote homosexuality, which will pollute the entire society”.
It didn’t end there.
Santoshi Sharma, from women’s
development, told the meeting that “people will copy the homosexual
behaviour, so there is no possibility for this program to continue in
Bhatta then told the meeting that
he would find out who was providing the funding. I also need proof whether
there are HIV+ people from MSM/MSW communities here,” he added.
Ram Awatar was then told that the
donor providing funding for the BDS ‘Care Support’ scheme should come to the
next meeting of the District Aids Coordinating Committee (DAAC) “we will
discuss whether we should allow any program for MSM/MSW/TG in Dhangadi or
Speaking in Kathmandu, Sunil Pant,
the director of the Blue Diamond Society, said: “We are not sure where
Elton John is available or not to visit Dhangadi for the next DACC meeting.
“This is another devastating blow
against MSM/MSW/TG in a week by government departments,” he continued.
“Last Saturday, five métis
(effeminate males) were brutally assaulted by Nepal police for carrying
condoms in a Kathmandu park.
“With such attitudes of Government,
public health officials and NGOs, sexual health and HIV prevention and care
support treatment interventions for MSM/MSW/TG is impossible.”
Community Reels as Métis Assaulted by Police for Carrying Condoms.
Police in Kathmandu today stand accused of assault on ‘Métis’ (transgender
people) in Ratna Park last night after it was discovered that the métis were
carrying condoms. (UK Gay News, July 15, 2007)
South African Justice Edwin Cameron Gives Hope To Nepal’s Gays.
Diwas Kc. Monday January 8 may have passed as
a normal day in Kathmandu. Yet, inside the Malla Hotel, new grounds were being broken. For the first time in the recorded
history of Nepal, a conference was organized to discuss the constitutional
rights of sexual minorities.
(UK Gay News, January 15, 2007)
Gay Group in
Nepal Gets Cash Boost From Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Nepal’s Blue Diamond Society (BDS) has been awarded a
grant of £25,000 by the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The money means that
the BDS will be able to continue its work with those suffering from AIDS for
a further year.
(UK Gay News, September 7, 2005)
Posted: 18 July 2007 at 14:00 UK