After a drawn out and painful struggle with the Nepali bureaucracy, the Blue Diamond Society (BDS) finally succeeded today in getting the current Chief District Officer (CDO) of Kathmandu to renew its annual operating license that had been suspended since last 9 months. This long awaited and much welcomed move was the product of a struggle waged by the Nepali Sexual and gender minority community, BDS staff and leadership since last year to convince the CDO that his office should not have withheld the license in the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing.
The allegations against BDS had been leveled by a bunch of former disgruntled employees with support from organized criminal gangs and other shady operatives. The allegations made against BDS and its founding president Sunil Babu Pant included those of massive financial irregularities, mismanagement, corruption and nepotism. After multiple investigations by the CDO office and the Social Welfare Council, BDS and Mr. Pant were exonerated of all these false and malicious charges.
The previous Kathmandu CDO, Chudamani Sharma, harassed BDS who frequently approached him seeking justice. We, the LGBTI community of Nepal, are concerned to the fact that Mr. Sharma entertained charges made by people who has close link to organized criminal gangs in Kathmandu and treated us (BDS, its staff and leadership) unfairly; we never understood the motive of Mr. Sharma for bringing minor excuses without any legal bases not to renew BDS for so long. We are glad that justice has prevailed.
We are today pleased to announce that the LGBTI community of Nepal can once again hold its head high. This terrible episode led to funding gaps and demoralization of over 750 of our full-time staff in 40 districts and all LGBTI communities of Nepal. Furthermore, it interfered with the critical work we do in providing HIV prevention and care services, human rights and legal services to sexual and gender minority communities who have been stigmatized and discriminated for centuries by society and the state. Today we reiterate our commitment to the rights, health, opportunities and wellbeing of sexual and gender minorities and our goal to work for them in the years ahead.
We like to thank to the current CDO, Mr. Bashanta R Gautam, other local and international civil society and human rights organization like NHRC, INSEC, OHCHR, UNAIDS, Human Rights Watch, local and international media, all the lawyers who have supported us, our donors, various government departments, parliamentary secretary, political parties, leaders and various embassies in Nepal.
Thank you to all our community members, friends and supporters, we appreciated your help and have come out stronger and united from this unpleasant episode; for this experience, we are also grateful to our opponents. Finally, we like to thank BDS’s founder and director, Mr. Sunil Babu Pant, for his wisdom, showing us light to face these struggles compassionately.