‘India should support comprehensive transgender rights bill’

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) The Indian government should support a comprehensive law guaranteeing equal rights and non-discrimination to transgenders, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said on Thursday.

This law must be developed and passed after adequate consultation with the transgender community in India, the Geneva-based organisation said in a statement.

“The transgender community in India has faced stigma, discrimination and violence for years,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Asia-Pacific director.

Zarifi added: “It is time for the Indian parliament to pass comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation as an essential first step towards guaranteeing the transgender community’s internationally recognized and constitutionally protected human rights.”

Earlier this year, the Rajya Sabha passed the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014, a private member’s bill.

The bill guaranteed a wide range of rights to transgenders, including the right to be free from discrimination, the right to life and personal liberty, the right to protection from abuse, violence and exploitation, as well as equality in educational opportunities, employment, social security and healthcare.

The Lok Sabha would discuss a revised version of this bill in the ongoing winter session of parliament.

“Any transgender rights legislation must fully comply with India’s international human rights obligations,” Zarifi added.

The Indian government must ensure that the transgender community participates in and is meaningfully consulted on the new law’s provisions, the statement said.

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