Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Ugandan lesbian campaigner Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera has been honoured with an international award for her bravery in speaking out for human rights.
Ms Nabagesera, the founder of Freedom and Roam Uganda, is to received the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.
Award organisers commended her “rare courage” in a country which punishes homosexuality severely.
Ms Nabagesera has appeared on national television and radio to call for LGBT rights and an end to homophobia.
She has been physically attacked and has to move house regularly to escape harassment and threats to her life.
Last year, her name and photo were published by the notorious Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone, which campaigned for gay people to be hung.
The Martin Ennals Award is named after the British human rights activist who died in 1991. He was the Secretary-General of Amnesty International between 1968 and 1980.
A jury from ten human rights organisations, including Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, selected Ms Nabagesera for the award. The honour is designed to publicise the recipient’s work and help protect them from the dangers they face.
The chairman of the award’s jury, Hans Thoolen, said Ms Nabagesera was “an exceptional woman of a rare courage, fighting under death threat for human dignity and the rights of homosexuals and marginalised people in Africa”.
Dipika Nath, an LGBT researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “This is a fitting tribute to the courage of one woman, Kasha Nabagesera, and to all activists working under conditions of extreme threat.”