The jury of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) has announced today (Tuesday 3 May) its 2011 laureate – Ms Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera from Uganda. She has been selected for her work defending the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and other marginalised people.
Ms Nabagesera is the founder and Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda, an LGBT rights organisation. She has courageously appeared on national television in Uganda, issued press statements on behalf of the LGBT community, and spoken on several radio stations. Already in 2007, Ms Nabagesera was harassed at the World Social Forum in Nairobi and, on many occasions since, has suffered harassment, threats and even attacks because of her work. As a result, she has been shifting from house to house, afraid to stay long in the same place.
On 26 January 2011 one of her colleagues, LGBT activist David Kato was murdered. This followed the publication of a ‘gay list’ by the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone, calling for the hanging of the LGBT people identified. In this ‘black list’, Ms Nabagesera’s name also appears.
Chairman of the jury of the MEA, Mr Hans Thoolen describes the laureate as ‘an exceptional woman of a rare courage, fighting under death threat for human dignity and the rights of homosexuals and marginalised people in Africa’. He says, by recognising Ms Nabagesera as the laureate in 2011, the jury aims to underline its strong opposition to the discrimination of people based on gender or sexual orientation.
The laureate is selected by the jury of the Martin Ennals Foundation, of which the International Service for Human Rights is a member. The other organisations are 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, and HURIDOCS.
The Martin Ennals Award presentation ceremony will take place at Victoria Hall in Geneva later this year.
To view video footage or find out more about the 2011 laureate, the Martin Ennals Awards in general or previous laureates, visit www.martinennalsaward.org