Twitter
Ankit_Solidarity Fund_2

Promoting and Protecting Human Rights of LGBTI Community in Nepal
by Ankit Khanal

The pandemic has affected the world on a wide scale and in different ways – GDL members have had to cancel projects, put them on hold for the time being or reorganise them. In order to ensure that the work of GDL members can continue, especially in civil society organisations that support vulnerable groups or other groups in need, the GDL has promoted projects through the Solidarity Fund. What has become of it, who has taken part in it and how has it helped?

This is the fourth article in our Solidarity Fund blog series, where we will publish reports on the blog at irregular intervals. You can also take a look at the first entry, where Camila Comide shares her experiences at the Gender Alliance and illustrates why gender is much more than just women’s rights, the second entry, where GDL member Benon Kayemba provides insights into his solar light project to improve security and provide lighting for children in Uganda, and the third contribution by Elsa Marie D’Silva and Supreet K’Singh, who created a safe space within a SafeCircle for victims of domestic violence in India to be heard and supported with the help of our Solidarity Fund. 

Inspired by the Solidarity Driven Call, GDL member Ankit Khanal and his organisation Community Solution Initiatives Nepal (CSIhosted a workshop dedicated to the rights of the LGBTI community in Nepal to bring its ideas and visions into the mainstream. The CSI is a community of lawyers, activists and researchers who believe that the law can be a powerful tool in breaking the cycle of marginalisation and advancing social justice.

Ankit’s report:
ankit_Solidarity Fund_3
On 19 February, I hosted a workshop session for 34 civil society activists and advocates in Dhangadhi (in the far west province of Nepal) focusing on the issues of LGBTI, human rights, transparency, accountability, good governance and women’s rights. 

Hosting this workshop in a smaller city was important, as issues affecting LGBTI communities are even more pressing outside Nepal’s big cities. In the capital Kathmandu, various initiatives are in place to protect the rights of LGBTI communities. But in rural areas there is very little recognition of the issues. Hence, it was deemed important that awareness of this issue be raised in that area among a wide array of stakeholders, including local governments, media houses and civil society organisations.

During the event I collaborated with numerous relevant stakeholders in the region. Saroj Bista, director at CSI Nepal, coordinated locally with the partner organisations, including the Blue Diamond Society, which has been promoting the issues of LGBTI communities in Nepal, and the Rural Development and Research Centre (RDRC), which works in the areas of media, press, human rights and governance. RDRC members shared their expertise regarding the role of the media in mainstreaming the rights of LGBTI communities throughout the workshop. 

At first we assumed that the event would quickly consolidate the wide array of stakeholders into a network. However, since the event only spanned one day, it was a challenge to cover every aspect as well as to develop concrete networking documentation in this short time. Most challenging was the search for local expertise. It was a difficult task to identify local experts in the subject matter. Moreover, conducting the event outside Kathmandu made coordinating with the local bodies and identifying issues strenuous.

The 34 participants, with overwhelming involvement by stakeholders, including members of the LGBTI communities, local governments, journalists and human rights actors in the region, played an active role in the event, and we were able to discuss regional challenges and look at future ways to protect the rights of LGBTI communities. 

Various speakers have called for greater advocacy for marginalised communities, including LGBTI, to enjoy the fundamental civil rights enshrined in the constitution. At the workshop ‘Rights of LGBT Community’ organised by Community Solution Initiatives, participants, mainly representing LGBTI communities from the far west province, shared a vision and a commitment to lend support to other LGBTI communities and strengthen public awareness.

“It is crucial that gender minorities be treated equally if we are to see positive changes in society.” – Anonymous participant of the workshop

Governance activists echoed the need to address the problems faced by minorities and disadvantaged communities, including LGBTI, in order to enable them to assert and enjoy their human rights.

“The LGBTI population in the entire far west must be large. Past efforts resulted in LGBTIs being able to obtain citizenship certificates. It is, however, unfortunate to see no participation and no representative from the community in any of the 126 administrative units in the entire far west region. We highly encourage you to maintain an accurate database of the LGBTI community in the region, make sure they all register for their voter ID and submit candidacies in local-level elections so that civil and political rights can be better promoted.” – Anonymous participant of the workshop

Participants also highlighted the need to put further efforts into mainstreaming the participation of the LGBTI community in the governance process at local level.

Media can play an important role in ensuring the social security of the LGBTI. It is important that the issues that LGBTI communities have been going through are given an appropriate place in reporting.” – Anonymous participant of the workshop

If we have the opportunity to continue our work, we would very much like to plan for a series of events in all seven provinces of Nepal. We would plan the sessions to accommodate several other aspects (good governance, roles of local governments, participation of LGBTI communities in the budget planning process at local level, legal and policy reform to protect rights of LGBTI communities). 

I believe that we were able to touch on only a few of many important issues affecting LGBTI communities. It would be great to have at least a two-day event to be able to focus on the topic in more detail.

In the end, the event was successful in sensitising local governments who bear primary responsibility for guaranteeing equal rights for every person, irrespective of their gender and sexual identity. The Deputy Mayor of Dhangadhi Sub-Metropolitan City expressed a commitment to raising the issue in local government programmes. 

In light of the achievements of the workshop, we will continue to consolidate relationships between the participants, with the goal of using this network to help them continue their collaboration and support each other far beyond the end of the workshop. 

For further information you can check out the published article about the workshop on the Nepal24Hours website here.  

About the author

Ankit Khanal is a Political Affairs expert who has vast experience with various international organisations, INGO’s and NGO’s, including the United Nations and the European Union at the national and international level, focusing on promoting human rights, peacebuilding, women’s empowerment, good governance and violence prevention. 

Published on December 16, 2021. 

Further Articles

Coffee Break Podcast: ElsaMarie D’Silva on fighting Gender-based and Sexual Violence
In this episode, host Khaldun Al Saadi speaks with ElsaMarie D’Silva about sexual and gender-based violence and her project Safecity.
Peacebuilding that Ignores the Environment is Not Complete
Climate and conflict are interrelated. GDL member Diego Osorio has been thinking about "Adaptive Peacebuilding." He writes about how to address climate-related security risks through repeated experimentation and learning, and how real-time data and analytics can help.
AI Governance: A Unique Challenge for the Global South
Gaurav Sharma not only writes about the benefits of artificial intelligence, but also highlights its risks and challenges and explains what is needed to use it in a target-oriented way.
Coffee Break Podcast: On Education
The fourth episode of the GDL Coffee Break Podcast is up! Host Khaldun Al Saadi talks with Dulguun Batmunkh about education policies and her Knight-Hennessy Scholarship at Stanford University.
Hello 2022 - What we expect and wish for
For the new year we wanted to hear members' expectations and wishes.
What does urbanisation mean for Pakistan’s cities?
“Reclaim Green Islamabad”, a campaign started by GDL member Mome Saleem addresses the harm rapid urbanisation has done to nature and thus to the inhabitants of Pakistan's capital.

Ankit Khanal

Ankit Khanal is a Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA) in New York. Prior to joining UNDPA, he worked as a Human Rights Officer at Community Solutions Initiative - Nepal. He has more than five years of experience with international organisations, INGOs and NGOs, including the United Nations, the Carter Center and the European Union at national and international level, focusing on promoting human rights, peacebuilding, women’s empowerment, good governance and violence prevention.

Ankit has experience in engaging a wide range of stakeholders from the grassroots level up to national level and has in-depth knowledge of Nepal and South Asia. Ankit holds a MA in International Relations from the University of Northampton, UK.

.....................................................................................................................

Read more about Ankit in his latest blog article on promoting and protecting Human Rights of LGBTI community in Nepal.

benon-kayemba3

Benon Kayemba
Benon Kayemba was born on 9 October 1977 in Uganda, raised by a single rural based mother up to the age of 14 years. From thereon, he took charge of raising his own school fees through working during holidays from senior 1 up to senior 4. He obtained a scholarship from the Conerstone Development organisation (American NGO) for poor bright students and pursued Advanced level education where he excelled nationwide and was admitted to Makerere University - then the only public university in Uganda as a government sponsorship student.

Benon Kayemba has a Bachelor’s Degree (Tourism & Geography), a post graduate diploma in Diplomacy and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. He joined the Ugandan Foreign Service in 2002 and has risen through the ranks to Second Secretary (2006), First Secretary (2011) and Counsellor (2015). He has served in the Ugandan mission in Addis Ababa (2006-2010), with responsibility for Integration & Partnerships, in Kinshasha (2012-2016), as deputy head in charge of economic affairs, and is currently in Algiers (2018 -2022) as deputy head on the newly created mission. At home, Benon Kayemba worked as Desk Officer for Europe (2002-2013), Desk Office for the African Union (2004-2006), Special Assistant to the CEO of Foreign Affairs (2011-2012) and Deputy Head of the newly created Department of Regional Peace and Security which deals with regional and continental issues in Africa.

Elsa Marie D’Silva

Elsa Marie D’Silva is the founder and CEO of Red Dot Foundation (Safecity), a platform that crowdsources personal experiences of sexual violence and abuse in public spaces. Since Safecity started in December 2012, it has become the largest crowd map on the issue in India, Kenya, Cameroon and Nepal.

Elsa Marie is an alumna of the US State Department’s Fortune Program, a fellow with Rotary Peace, Aspen New Voices and Vital Voices, and a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader. She is listed as one of BBC Hindi’s 100 Women. Moreover, she has won the Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award launched by Dušan Stojanović (European Angel Investor of the Year 2013) and the SheThePeople’s Digital Woman Award in Social Impact.

Prior to Safecity, she spent 20 years in the aviation industry, where she worked with Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines. In her last role in aviation, she was Vice President Network Planning.

......................................................................................................................................................

Read more about Elsa's work at Safecity and see for yourself in this documentary. She also has a very clear vision for the Global Diplomacy Lab.

Ankit Khanal

Ankit Khanal is a Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA) in New York. Prior to joining UNDPA, he worked as a Human Rights Officer at Community Solutions Initiative - Nepal. He has more than five years of experience with international organisations, INGOs and NGOs, including the United Nations, the Carter Center and the European Union at national and international level, focusing on promoting human rights, peacebuilding, women’s empowerment, good governance and violence prevention.

Ankit has experience in engaging a wide range of stakeholders from the grassroots level up to national level and has in-depth knowledge of Nepal and South Asia. Ankit holds a MA in International Relations from the University of Northampton, UK.

.....................................................................................................................

Read more about Ankit in his latest blog article on promoting and protecting Human Rights of LGBTI community in Nepal.

Ankit Khanal

Ankit Khanal is a Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA) in New York. Prior to joining UNDPA, he worked as a Human Rights Officer at Community Solutions Initiative - Nepal. He has more than five years of experience with international organisations, INGOs and NGOs, including the United Nations, the Carter Center and the European Union at national and international level, focusing on promoting human rights, peacebuilding, women’s empowerment, good governance and violence prevention.

Ankit has experience in engaging a wide range of stakeholders from the grassroots level up to national level and has in-depth knowledge of Nepal and South Asia. Ankit holds a MA in International Relations from the University of Northampton, UK.

.....................................................................................................................

Read more about Ankit in his latest blog article on promoting and protecting Human Rights of LGBTI community in Nepal.

Cookie Policy
This website uses cookies to help us customise your experience and to provide optimal functionality. To learn more about cookies and their benefit and how you can control them, please view our cookie policy. By closing this message, you agree to the use of cookies.