Ugandan gay rights activist wins ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’
A Ugandan lesbian activist has been announced as the winner of an ‘alternative Nobel Prize’.
The international Right Livelihood Award is known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ for honouring people who would not gain conventional recognition – honouring and supporting those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.
Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, the founder and executive director of an LGBT rights charity Freedom & Roam Uganda, was announced as one of the winners of the Swedish award this week.
Ms Nabagesera has risked jail and violence to fight for LGBT rights for decades, in spite of the country’s anti-gay laws.
Both male and female homosexuality are punishable by up to 7 years’ imprisonment in Uganda under the country’s anti-sodomy laws.
It was announced today she would be awarded the prize “for her courage and persistence, despite violence and intimidation, in working for the right of LGBTI people to a life free from prejudice and persecution.”
A statement says: “Fighting for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Uganda, Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera is one of the most courageous and outspoken human rights activists in Africa.
“Operating within a hostile and repressive environment, Nabagesera has shed light on human rights violations, and has successfully used the judicial system to advance LGBTI rights.
“She has overcome threats to campaign against repressive laws and uses a range of creative and innovative tools to continue breaking myths and stereotypes surrounding LGBTI people in Uganda and elsewhere.”
It also notes: “Nabagesera is one of the few activists in Uganda who has engaged in the judicial process to advance the rights of the LGBTI community.
“When a Ugandan tabloid published the names and photos of (alleged) gay and lesbian people, she was one of three individuals who took the newspaper to court and won.
“When in 2012 the Minister of Ethics shut down a workshop involving several LGBTI organisations claiming that such a gathering was illegal, Nabagesera was among those who sued the minister for violating their freedom of assembly.
“These court actions are slowly helping to shift public opinion in Uganda towards the notion that LGBTI people have constitutionally guaranteed rights.”