SAHRA NEPAL

SAHRA is a South Asian Network which was conceived by a group of 20 rights
activist from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan at a
regional meeting in Kathmandu in September 2008. SAHRA believes in the
inherent right to dignity, security, equal opportunity and freedom of all
people regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identities and
expressions.

The regional meeting decided that SAHRA would be a member organisation for
individuals and groups in the region with a mandate to systematically
document human rights violations against sexual and gender minorities, to
respond to these violations and to strongly advocate for an increase in the
recognition, protection and promotion of human rights. Since at present,
there is no systematised documentation of the human rights violations based
on sexual orientation and gender identity taking place at a regional level.
There are no regional organisations that disseminate such documentation to
international human rights bodies and to the population at large. The
documentation will also include positive advancement and gains made in the
region. SAHRA understands the gamut of human rights violations against
LGBTI individuals (actual or perceived) or organisations will be based on
the Yogyakarta Principles.

Regional advocacy is practically non-existent. This is partly due to the
fact that there are few regional rights bodies to centre the work around.
It is also due to the fact that there is no space to exchange, discuss,
draw from each other’s experiences across countries that share a common
cultural heritage, also when it comes to the existence of sexual and gender
minorities. Within the region, there is a general lack of awareness and
understanding of the concept of rights and a lack of knowledge on the use
of human rights instruments as a tool for bringing about social and
political change. This is largely due to factors such as social
marginalization and the lack of access to information due to language
barriers.

Inter-regional networking between organisations working on the rights of
sexual and gender minorities in South Asia is practically non-existing. The
networks that exist are centred on the prevention of HIV/aids among men who
have sex with men. So the regional meeting decided that SAHRA will work
with national and provincial/state human rights associations. Doing
Advocacy with states, members organizations and other stakeholders. Mapping
of the work being done on LGBTI issues in the south asia region and
building capacity of member organizations and groups on documenting and
responding to human rights violations without replacing existing network in
the region to fill the gap in the region.

It has already starts its field work in 2 countries (Nepal and Bangladesh)
after national and regional discussion in task force meetings where SAHRA
envisages a world where every LGBTI person enjoys the human rights
enshrined in the universal declaration of Human rights (UDHR) and as
expressed in the Yogyakarta principles. The discussion still going on in
different level . SAHRA is organized as task force in regional level and
steering committee in national level maintaing gender balance in the
committee.

SAHRA is passing through a crucial moment. Communities, organizations and
individuals in south Asia ( and beyond) are looking to SAHRA with much
anticipation and expectation but the registration of SAHRA as a separate
legal entity remains pending due to procedural legal formalities. It is
crucial that SAHRA starts to work in order not to lose the moment of
anticipation and expectation. Task force members from the participating
countries have thus resolved to commence substantive work with country
specific work plans. Alongside efforts shall continue for the formal
registration of SAHRA.

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