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12 December, 2008

Nepal Maoists to stand up for gay rights at UN

Nepal's ruling Maoist party, which till a year ago regarded homosexuality as a threat to a future socialist society, will strike a blow for gay rights at the UN later this month, marking a sea-change.

Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda has asked the foreign ministry and Nepal's ambassador to the UN to support a statement that will be tabled in the UN General Assembly this month recognizing human rights violations on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Prachanda conveyed the decision to support gay rights on Wednesday to a delegation led by Nepal's only publicly gay lawmaker Sunil Babu Pant.

The prime minister's office gave the delegation a copy of the order issued by it on Monday, asking the appropriate ministries to support the gay rights statement in the UN initiated by France and supported by a core group of eight more nations, including Japan, the Netherlands and Norway.

Pant told IANS that Nepal had becomes the 56th country to support the statement.

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