For Immediate Release: May 3, 2011
Selects Ugandan Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera as the Laureate for her work for LGBT rights
New York, NY — Human Rights First extends its warm congratulations to Ugandan gay rights activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, who was recognized yesterday as this year’s Laureate of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA)—an honor collectively bestowed upon distinguished human rights defenders by ten of the world’s foremost human rights organizations, including Human Rights First.
Human Rights First has worked with a civil society coalition on human rights and constitutional law – of which Nabagesera’s organization was an active part – that led domestic efforts to confront anti-homosexuality legislation.
“Kasha is a most deserving recipient of the Martin Ennals Award. For nearly a decade she has fought for the rights of LGBTI Ugandans, most recently showing tremendous courage in the face of personal danger in her efforts to campaign against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” said Paul LeGendre of Human Rights First.
Nabagesera is the founder and Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda, a main lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights organization. She has had the courage to appear on national television in Uganda, she has issued press statements on behalf of the gay community, and spoke on several radio stations. In 2007 she was harassed at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, and on many occasions afterwards she was hackled, threatened and even attacked by people for appearing in the media. Since then she has been shifting from house to house, afraid to stay long in the same place. On 26 January 2011 one of her activist colleagues, David Kato, was murdered following the publication of his name on a “gay list” by the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone, which called for the hanging of those on it. Nabagerera’s name also appeared on that same list.
The award ceremony will take place in the Victoria Hall of Geneva late in the year.
The Jury for this, the main award of the human rights movement, is composed of the following NGOs: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, International Federation for Human Rights, World Organisation Against Torture, Front Line, International Commission of Jurists, German Diakonie, International Service for Human Rights and HURIDOCS.
Previous laureates include Muhannad Al-Hassani, Syria (2010), Emad Baghi, Iran; Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Uzbekistan; Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, Burundi and Rajan Hoole-Kopalasingham Sritharan, Sri Lanka; Akbar Ganji, Iran and Arnold Tsunga, Zimbabwe; Aktham Naisse, Syria; Lida Yusupova, Russia; Alirio Uribe Muñoz, Colombia; Jacqueline Moudeina, Chad; Peace Brigades International; Immaculée Birhaheka, DR Congo; Natasha Kandic, Yugoslavia; Eyad El Sarraj, Palestine; Samuel Ruiz, Mexico; Clement Nwankwo, Nigeria; Asma Jahangir, Pakistan; Harry Wu, China.
For downloadable film images on the Laureate of 2011, please go to http://vimeo.com/23160035 – the Vimeo account of True Heroes with a password: MEA_KASHA_2011.
Patrons of the Martin Ennals Award: Asma Jahangir, Barbara Hendricks, José Ramos-Horta, Adama Dieng, Leandro Despouy, Louise Arbour, Robert Fulghum, Irene Khan, Theo van Boven and Werner Lottje†.