Civil Rights Defender of the Year 2022 to LGBTI defenders Xheni Karaj and Frank Mugisha

April 21, 2022

On 21 April 2022 LGBTI+ activists and human rights defenders Frank Mugisha from Uganda and Xheni Karaj from Albania were awarded the Civil Rights Defender of the year award 2022.  For more on this award and its laureates, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/F2D9088D-2A4E-4FFF-8EC8-7AF252D5B5E7.  

“Xheni Karaj, from Albania, and Frank Mugisha, from Uganda, are two of the world’s most courageous LGBTI+ activists and human rights defenders. Despite working in environments where homophobia is widespread, they continue fighting with impressive resilience, for every individual’s right to have their own sexual orientation and gender identity. They have both been instrumental in building LGBTI+ movements in their countries and inspire LGBTI+ activists all over the Balkan region and the African continent,” the Civil Rights Defenders Board of Directors writes in the motivation for the award.  

The right to one’s own sexuality and gender identity is a human right, but violence and discrimination against people from the LGBTI+ community is still a problem globally. Xheni Karaj, founder and Executive Director of Aleanca LGBT in Albania and Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) are working for LGBTI+ and human rights in countries where violence, discrimination, and homophobia is widespread. Due to the situation in both Uganda and Albania, many LGBTI+ people keep their sexual identity hidden out of fear for the consequences they might face if coming out in public. Through education, advocacy, and building a community for LGBTI+ persons, Frank Mugisha and Xheni Karaj are contributing to improving the lives of thousands. Their commitment to LGBTI+ rights has played a huge part in the progress for human rights in their regions.   

I am excited and happy about the award. This prize shows that LGBTI+ rights are part of universal human rights. For us, it is a recognition that we are involved in advancing human rights work,” says Frank Mugisha. 

“The award made us all feel very happy and appreciated and motivates us to continue with the good work we are doing. To get this acknowledgment also helps me realise that we are making a revolution in Albania. From being invisible, we have showed people that we exist. That we are proud of ourselves, and we should have the right to be free and tell our stories,” says Xheni Karaj.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: