Nepal police step
up attacks on transgender people

Police officials
in Nepal have unleashed a string of attacks on
transgender people, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.
“Police in Kathmandu are violently
attacking and even sexually abusing transgender people
to clear the streets of people they deem immoral,”
Scott Long, director of the LGBT Rights Program at Human
Rights Watch, said in a statement. “Nepali
human rights groups are calling this crackdown
‘sexual cleansing.’ This amoral campaign has
to stop.”
In the latest reported incident, on January 3 at
about 10 p.m., three metis were walking in the Thamel
district of Kathmandu. A local slang term for
transgender people, a meti is a man by birth who
identifies as a woman. Four uniformed police from
Durbar Marg police station reportedly saw them and
shouted, “Metis! Kill them!”
One meti was beaten with a baton on her back;
one policeman pulled his gun and pointed it at her,
saying, "These hijras pollute the society and must be
cleaned out. ” (Hijra is a common term
for a transgender person.) The two other metis were
also beaten severely. All three reportedly have
bruises on various parts of their bodies.
The Blue Diamond Society, a Nepalese
nongovernmental organization defending sexual rights
and sexual health, has documented numerous such
incidents. On December 31 at about 11 p.m., also in
Kathmandu’s Thamel district, a meti was
detained by police at Shore Khutte police station. One
policeman beat her with a bamboo baton, calling her
derogatory names. She escaped, but her right hand is
reportedly swollen and badly bruised.
On December 28 at about 1:30 a.m., a meti named
Sahiba was arrested in the Thamel district. She was
taken to the Shore Khutte police station. There police
verbally abused her and commanded her to strip. When she
refused, they stripped her forcibly of her clothes and
checked her genitals while mocking her. They
threatened to cut off her hair as punishment for
wearing women’s clothes. She was released the next day.
In yet another incident, early on the morning of
December 7, police from the Shore Khutte station
raided a hotel in the Thamel district. The raid was
reportedly in retaliation against the hotel for refusing to
provide a room free of charge for four policemen to
have sexual relations with two metis. During the raid
11 metis were arrested. Eight were held without charge
for five days, then released; the other three were held for
an additional day.
“The police are using brutal harassment
and detention without charge to clear transgender
people off the streets,” Long said. “These
attacks reflect a law enforcement system that is
unchecked and operating outside the law.”

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