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Ugandan LGBT Advocate Awarded Rafto Prize

Jim Burroway

September 29th, 2011

The Rafto Foundation, a Norwegian human rights and democracy advocacy organization, announced today that they are awarding the 2011 Rafto Prize to Sexual Minorities Uganda and the group’s Executive Director, Frank Mugisha. According to the Rafto Foundation’s press release, “The Prize is awarded to SMUG for its work to make fundamental human rights apply to everyone, and to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.” The Foundation explains the reason for the recognition:

The human rights situation in Uganda in general, and the plight of sexual minorities in particular, is getting worse. They are blamed for social problems and are “the good enemy” that politicians can attack in order to garner support. In this situation, SMUG’s work is especially important. The battle they wage is for human rights’ most basic purpose: to protect individuals from abuses by the authorities and the majority. The Rafto Foundation hereby gives its support to the work against what former SMUG leader Victor Juliet Mukasa, characterized as a “state-sponsored homophobia that is spreading across the African continent”.

SMUG is a coalition of organisations that work for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI people, or sexual minorities, which is the term used by SMUG). Since its inception in 2004, SMUG has become a powerful voice for a stigmatised and persecuted minority. The coalition has played an important role in opposing the proposed “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” and has successfully used the legal system to fight harassment and violence from government and private actors. SMUG also does important work supporting individuals who suffer from abuse.

Frank Mugisha and his colleagues in SMUG have demonstrated great courage in fronting the fight for LGBTI people’s rights.

The 2011 Rafto Prize will be awarded in Bergen, Norway on November 6. Earlier this month, it was announced that Mugisha has been chosen to receive the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Comments

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angry birds
September 30th, 2011 | LINK

i can understand the feeling of joy when some one rewarded with prize. No matter big or small prize! Congrats on your success.

MJC
October 3rd, 2011 | LINK

Will Frank be able to leave the country to receive the prize(s)?

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