Kathmandu: United Nations Asia-Pacific regional seminar on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity today called for the need for better laws to curb homophobic violence and discrimination in the society.
Inaugurating the two-day seminar, Nepalese Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Riddhi Baba Pradhan emphasised the need for legal, institutional and policy reforms in Nepal and elsewhere in taking the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bio-sex, Trans-gender and Intersex) movement forward.
The prevalence and gravity of homophobic violence and discrimination in the society is alarming, human rights officer, UN Headquarters Nikolaus Schultz said.
"We should all be outraged when members of our human family are verbally abused, physically assaulted, arrested and sometimes killed simply because of whom they love or how they look," he said.
The seminar aimed at building regional opinion and inputs for the wrap-up conference of the regional seminars in Oslo, Norway in mid-April 2013 as also to lay the groundwork for a new Human Rights Council resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Recent implementation of issuing citizenship certificate to sexual and gender minority citizens by Nepal`s Home Ministry, though in a slow manner, shows that the Nepalese government is committed to LGBTI rights, said Sunil Pant, the first gay Member of Parliament of Nepal.
Pant is also the president of Blue Diamond Society, the organisation dedicated to the welfare and rights of the sexual minorities in Nepal.
Government officials, civil society representatives and representatives from lesbian and gay community of 22 countries in the region including Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Mongolia, Nepal Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand attended the conference.