Sexual orientation and gender identity in Nepal: Rights promotion through UN development assistance

[Resourcel URL]

Go to Resource

[Relevance]

This article is relevant for development and humanitarian practitioners as it shows how UN development agencies, and other international organisations, can independently pursue the promotion of SOGI rights within countries through an ‘open systems’ approach to development.

This academic article looks at how UN development agencies have been working to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) rights in Nepal in the absence of an international mandate to do so. The article suggests that such agencies have the ability to promote LGBTI rights using means beyond the traditional human rights institutions, such as the Human Rights Council.

The article examines the work of the UN Development Programme, the UN Children’s Fund, UNAIDS, and UN Women across South Asia, with a particular focus on Nepal. The research draws on documentary evidence of UN activities and semi-structured interviews in Kathmandu and New York in 2016.

The article outlines the development of the protection of SOGI related rights within the United Nations and highlights how such rights have been contested. Using Nepal as a case study, the article argues that UN development agencies can act independently within countries to promote SOGI rights. It further asserts that UN development agencies have started to be active in rights implementation, rather than just promotion.The article concludes by examining what the work of UN development agencies means for other international organisations and their ability to act independently of member states to promote their own rights promotion agenda through an ‘open systems’ approach to development.

[Quote]

“United Nations (UN) development agencies have been actively working to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) rights in Nepal, despite having no official mandate to work on these rights. This presents an important example of how such agencies are able to act independently to set their own agenda and illustrates the “open system” approach to international bureaucracies. It also suggests that these agencies have the potential to be important instruments of LGBTI rights promotion outside the traditional human rights machinery”

Most Popular Resources

Beginner's Guide

No such thing as neutral: Understanding the implications of COVID-19 for communities with diverse SOGIE in the Global North

This Think Piece is by Kirsty McKellar, one of Edge Effect’s 2020 interns. Kirsty has recently completed her masters of Development Studies...

We deserve human rights: Interview with Emma Yaaka

Emma Yaaka (he/him) is an LGBTIQ+ advocate who has worked to provide medical services and information to LGBTIQ+ refugees in Kenya and...

This academic article looks at how UN development agencies have been working to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) rights in Nepal in the absence of an international mandate to do so. The article suggests that such agencies have the ability to promote LGBTI rights using means beyond the traditional human rights institutions, such as the Human Rights Council.

The article examines the work of the UN Development Programme, the UN Children’s Fund, UNAIDS, and UN Women across South Asia, with a particular focus on Nepal. The research draws on documentary evidence of UN activities and semi-structured interviews in Kathmandu and New York in 2016.

The article outlines the development of the protection of SOGI related rights within the United Nations and highlights how such rights have been contested. Using Nepal as a case study, the article argues that UN development agencies can act independently within countries to promote SOGI rights. It further asserts that UN development agencies have started to be active in rights implementation, rather than just promotion.The article concludes by examining what the work of UN development agencies means for other international organisations and their ability to act independently of member states to promote their own rights promotion agenda through an ‘open systems’ approach to development.