New York — The decision to give the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders to a Ugandan lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) advocate highlights the difficulty and danger advocates for LGBT rights face in many countries of Africa, Human Rights Watch said today.
The award, announced on May 3, 2011, will go to Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, founder and executive director of Freedom and Roam Uganda, an LGBT rights organization. In issuing the announcement, the award organization noted that Nabagesera has had the courage to appear on national television and radio stations in Uganda and has issued news statements on behalf of the gay community. In 2007 she was harassed at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, and on many occasions afterward, was hackled, threatened, and even attacked. Since then she has moved from house to house, afraid to stay long in the same place. Her name was on a "gay list" published by the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone on January 26, after which, another colleague on the list, David Kato, was murdered.
"This is a fitting tribute to the courage of one woman, Kasha Nabagesera, and to all activists working under conditions of extreme threat," said Dipika Nath, LGBT researcher at Human Rights Watch.
The award ceremony will be in the Victoria Hall of Geneva late in the year, the award organization said.
The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders is a collaboration among 10 of the world's leading human rights organizations to give protection to human rights defenders worldwide. The Jury consists of: 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.