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Nepal guarantees citizenship to sexual, gender minorities
Publication Date : 22-01-2013
Nepal’s ministry of home affairs has instructed its district administration offices to grant citizenship to sexual and gender minorities under the “others” category.
A circular to this effect was forwarded to regional administration offices by the ministry on January 1 after a directive regarding the distribution of citizenship certificates to sexual and gender minorities under “others” in the gender category was introduced by Home Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar last month.
The directive is a key step towards implementing the Supreme Court's December 2007 verdict, where the apex court ruled that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT I) individuals were “natural persons” and that citizenship certificates should be issued indicating the gender identity of the applicant's choice.
So far, only three such certificates have been issued for the “third gender”, according to the LGBT rights organisation Blue Diamond Society.
BDS Executive Director and former lawmaker Sunil Babu Pant hailed the directive as a “landmark” decision and 'the biggest victory' accomplished by sexual minorities in their 12-year struggle.
“We have accomplished 50 percent of our goals with this legal guarantee for citizenship,” said Pant. The next phase of “struggle” would be for capacity-building and inclusiveness.
Advocate Mira Dhungana also appreciated the government's decision, saying that it had upheld the long overdue apex court ruling that recognised separate identity for sexual minorities.
“The new directive is a positive step to ensure citizenship for sexual minorities,” said Dhunghana.
Now, individuals can move a court if citizenship is denied as provisioned, she said.