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Mitini Nepal (MN)

Kathmandu Nepal
August 2011

Grant Description

After decades of civil war and political instability in Nepal, the government finally called for the creation of a new constitution in 2007. Through the process, anticipated to come to a close on August 31, 2011, groups that have been long excluded from participation have used the opportunity to advocate for the inclusion of their rights in the new constitution. However, LGBTI movement has focused largely on the rights of gay and bisexual men and male to female transgender individuals in its advocacy. Fearing the lack of representation of lesbians, bisexual women and female to male transgender persons in the new constitution, Mitini Nepal (MN) requested urgent funds to initiate an awareness raising campaign on the issue and the double stigmatization LBT people face. Members of MN planned sit-ins during assembly hours in front of the Constituent Assembly (CA) building for the fifteen days leading up to the finalization of the legislation. Through the campaign, they planned to distribute demand notes to CA members and political parties and pressure them to ensure that LBT people are adequately represented.

The mission of MN is to build a strong lesbian, bisexual and transgender network in Nepal, to advocate for LGBTI rights, and to build up skills at the grass roots level and conduct campaigns to defeat anti-LGBTI referenda and advance pro-LGBTI legislation.

Impact Report

With UAF funds, MN carried out its sit-in along with other women’s rights groups for fifteen days starting mid-August until the 31st. Because the sit-in was situated so near the CA hall, many CA members visited the events and MN was able to collect their signatures in support of the inclusion of rights for women and LBT people in the constitution. MN also held a meeting with CA members where they shared draft legislation with them and LBT people shared their stories. The program also involved a ten-day hunger strike by LBT representatives to pressure the government, and all the events were widely covered by the media. Although the finalization of the constitution was postponed for a further three months, MN pointed out that the “sit-in programmes reached a wider audience who were sensitized about the inclusion of the LBT issues,” an audience which included CA members and the media. MN also explained that a major achievement was the strong alliance built among women’s human rights groups throughout the activities.