Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, the Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda, has been awarded the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award (NIHRA) of 2013.
Kasha is a Ugandan LGBT rights activist. She is the founder and executive director of an LGBT rights organization called Freedom & Roam Uganda (FARUG) and the 2011 recipient of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders
She has publicly campaigned for an end to homophobia in Uganda, where homosexuality is illegal.
In 2010, Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone published the photographs and names of people it claimed to be gay, under the headline “Hang Them”. The names and photographs included those of Nabagesera and her colleague David Kato.
The pair eventually sued the tabloid, and in doing so set a benchmark for human rights in Uganda. Nabagesera explained the precedence as an attempt to protect “privacy and the safety we all have against incitements to violence.
In 2010, Nabagesera opened the only Ugandan bar for LGBT people; named Sappho Islands, the bar was situated in a suburb of Kampala. It closed in 2011.
The NIHRA award was founded on September 17th 1995 as a reminder of the darkest chapter of Germany and Nuremberg history, as a symbol of hope for a world where human beings can live in dignity, peace and liberty.
The intention of this award is not only intended to honor the achievements of its awardees but also contribute to protection of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs).
According to the statement from the Awards Committee, Kasha has ‘consistently invoked international covenants that Uganda has ratified and the Government has failed to implement’ and ‘has been speaking at international fora highlighting the plight of lesbian women in her country’
‘But perhaps more importantly, Kasha has had the courage to appear on national television in Uganda, becoming one of the first gay people to openly speak out. Similarly, she has issued press statements on behalf of the gay community, and spoke on several radio stations,’ it added.
by Denis Nzioka
Source – Identity Kenya