Ugandan activist to use award to highlight homophobia fight

2015-10-01 14:37

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Kampala (dpa) - A Ugandan activist said on Thursday that she will use an award known as the Alternative Nobel to highlight her fight against homophobia in her country.

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, one of the four winners of the Right Livelihood Award announced on Thursday, said the recognition would motivate Uganda's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.

"The award is an achievement for all members of the gay community in this country," Nabagesera said.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda, and its National Assembly has been trying to pass an even tougher law that allows life imprisonment for "aggravated homosexuality".

The Stockholm-based Right Livelihood Foundation, which selected the winners, called Nabagesera, 35, one of the most courageous and outspoken human rights activists in Africa.

Harsh reprisals

"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," the foundation said.

Nabagesera is one of a few activists in Uganda who has turned to the judicial system to advance the rights of the LGBTI community. When a Ugandan tabloid published the names and photos of alleged gay men and lesbians, she was one of three individuals who took the newspaper to court and won.

"Despite being arrested, attacked and subjected to harassment, Nabagesera persists with her advocacy," the foundation said.

"As a result of harsh reprisals, most Ugandan LGBTI activists have been killed or have fled, leaving Nabagesera as one of very few prominent members of the Ugandan LGBTI movement still living in the country," it said.

Right Livelihood Award were also given to Canadian-born Inuit leader Sheila Watt-Cloutier for her fight against climate change and Italian surgeon Gino Strada, who co-founded the aid group Emergency for victims of conflict and injustice. All three will receive a 1-million-kronor (150,000-dollar) prize.

The Marshall Islands and its foreign minister, Tony de Brum, were chosen for an honorary award for fighting to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Read more on:    uganda  |  east africa  |  gay rights

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