Statement on Bhutan initiated steps to decriminalize homosexuality
11th June 2019
This week, Bhutan’s National Assembly officially passed the Panel Code Amendment’s Bill to decriminalize homosexual relations. They scrapped Section 213 and 214 in the Penal Code which had criminalized homosexual acts as "unnatural sex,” which will be subjected to a vote by the National Council.
While this decision is not yet finalized, we welcome the move of the government to recognize the indispensable human rights of LGBT persons in Bhutan. Albeit the law has never been enacted ever since its introduction in 2004, its existence creates threats to LGBT people and subjects them to potential discrimination and violence. With its removal, more and more Bhutanese will live in dignity and with respect, contributing to higher Gross National Happiness that has been endorsed by His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
We would like to congratulate our LGBT friends and allies in Bhutan for your tireless efforts and commitment to achieve this milestone. We wish you all the best in the next steps to protect and promote human rights for LGBT Bhutanese. This victory belongs to you and the whole Kingdom of Bhutan.
The news from Bhutan is yet another positive development in advancing human rights of LGBTI people in Asia, with India repealing similar clause in their Penal Code last year. We hope that Bhutan will inspire and encourage other nations in the region to be bolder in upholding justice for their LGBTI people.
ILGA Asia Executive Board