African Gay Human Rights Defender honored with world human rights award in Geneva
Washington, DC –– Human Rights First today praised the work of Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, who was selected to receive the 2011 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. The 20th recipient of this prestigious award, Nabagesera was honored last week during a ceremony in Geneva’s Victoria Hall. Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera is the founding director of Freedom and Roam Uganda, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights organization. The situation of LGBT community is extremely difficult and dangerous in many countries like Uganda where LGBT people are threatened, imprisoned, attacked and even murdered on the simple ground of their sexual orientation. This year, on January 26, one of her colleagues, gay activist David Kato, was murdered following the publication of a “gay list” by the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone. The list, which also included Kasha Jacqueline’s name, called on the public to hang these activists. Despite that threat, Kasha continues to find the courage to appear on national and international media at the risk of her life. The Chairman of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, Hans Thoolen, has described Kasha as “an exceptional woman of rare courage, fighting under death threat against homophobia.” During the one-hour ceremony last week, exclusive and penetrating images shot in Uganda demonstrated the work of the Laureate. Djenka Flow performed African music in her honour and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights presented the award. The event was co-organised with the City of Geneva, the human rights capital of the world, and the Geneva State Councillor, Sandrine Salerno, concluded the evening. The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders is a unique collaboration among 10 of the world’s leading human rights organizations and is the award of the whole human rights movement. It is sometimes referred to as the Nobel prize for human rights. The Jury is composed of the following NGOs: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, International Federation for Human Rights, World Organization Against Torture, International Commission of Jurists, German Diakonie, International Service for Human Rights, Front Line and HURIDOCS.