Posts Tagged ‘Frank Mugisha’

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.

Ugandan human rights defenders start David Kato lecture

February 9, 2022

Joto La Jiwe, in Erasing 76 Crimes of 7 February 2022 reports that human rights defenders in Uganda have launched a lecture series in memory of David Kato, the Ugandan human rights activist and teacher who was murdered eleven years ago in a homophobic attack. See: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/94EE8123-09C7-410A-9DE9-A0077FA87F31


Human rights defenders pose at Kuchu Remembrance Day on Jan. 26, 2022, in honor of LGBT people killed. The event marked the launch of the planned David Kato Memorial Lectures in Kampala, Uganda. (Photo courtesy of Frank Mugisha)

The future “David Kato Memorial Lectures” were launched on 26 January 2022, during an event in Kampala organized by Hassan Shire, executive director of Defend Defenders, and Clément Nyaletsossi, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association. That date, the anniversary of Kato’s death, has been commemorated by Ugandan LGBT people since 2020 as Kuchu Remembrance Day, a day to remember the lives of LGBT activists who have been killed because of their activism and sexuality.

David Kato was considered a father of Uganda’s gay rights movement and described as “Uganda’s first openly gay man.” He became highly involved with the underground LGBT rights movement in Uganda, eventually becoming one of the founding members of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in 2004.

On 26 January 2011, Kato was murdered in his home in Bukusa, Mukono Town, by a man who hit him twice in the head with a hammer. Kato died en route to hospital. Nsubuga Enoch, the man who confessed to murdering Kato, was found guilty at Mukono High Court and sentenced to 30 years with hard labour on 10 November 2011.

In October 2010, Kato was among the 100 people whose names, addresses, and photographs were published by the Ugandan tabloid newspaper Rolling Stone in an article which called for the murder of homosexuals. Kato and two other SMUG members who were listed in the article – Kasha Nabagesera and Pepe Julian Onziema – sued the newspaper to force it to stop publishing the names and pictures of people it believed to be gay or lesbian. The petition was granted on 2 November 2010, and the court later ordered the newspaper to pay Kato and the other two plaintiffs 1.5 million Ugandan shillings each (approx. US$450 as of May 2012).

Giles Muhame, the paper’s managing editor, was defiant at the time. “I haven’t seen the court injunction but the war against gays will and must continue. We have to protect our children from this dirty homosexual affront,” Muhame said of the court’s decision against his paper.

Several homophobic attacks have happened since Kato’s murder, resulting in deaths, body injuries, property damage and displacement. In memory of Kato, his former colleague Frank Mugisha, the executive director of SMUG, released a video on Twitter in which he pays him tribute. “The memorial lecture will bring out the core values that Kato stood for,” Mugisha says.

In a tweet about the David Kato memorial lectures, SMUG writes:

It’s been 11 years since we lost David Kato due to homophobia and transphobia. Today we remember and celebrate the life of a remarkable man, an outstanding Human Rights activist.

Uganda anti-gay bill coming up again: MEA Laureate 2011 Kasha speaks out and faces persecution

February 8, 2013


This week or next week is it most likely that the Ugandan parliament will again take up the so-called Kill the Gays bill. It is at the Third Reading Stage which means if it passes a third committee vote  it goes for a parliamentary vote. Sadly, there is enough popular support to make its passage entirely possible. See http://www.advocate.com/news/world-news/2013/02/07/ugandan-parliament-reconvenes-lingering-kill-gays-bill or
http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/639545-parliament-returns-to-a-congested-schedule.html. Gay rights activist Frank Mugisha tweeted that the bill is listed at number eight under “business to follow” on the order paper of 6 February .

Homosexuality is already illegal in the country and punishable by up to 14 years in prison, but the so-called Kill the Gays bill, sponsored by MP David Bahati and first introduced in 2009, would penalize “aggravated homosexuality”— consensual same-sex acts committed by “repeat offenders,” anyone who is in a position of power, is HIV-positive, or uses intoxicating agents in the process — with capital punishment. The lesser “offense of homosexuality,” also criminalized in the bill, encompasses anyone who engages in a same-sex sexual relationship, enters into a same-sex marriage, or conspires to commit “aggravated homosexuality”. And almost the most shocking, the bill also calls for three-year prison sentences for friends, family members and neighbors who do not turn in “known homosexuals” to the police!

Listen to the MEA laureate of 2011, Kasha, summarizing the problems she and other LGBT activists face and how external forces of fundamentalists groups incite the hatred. Some human rights defenders has taken one them to court in the US: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/07/scott-lively-kill-the-gays-bill-supporter-on-trial-crimes-against-humanity_n_2425003.html