Ugandan sexual rights activists get Norwegian prize

Published: September 29, 2011

An organisation aimed at protecting sexual minorities in Uganda, where homosexuality is considered a serious crime, on Thursday won Norway’s Rafto Prize for human rights work.

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), headed by Frank Mugisha, won the award for "its work to make fundamental human rights apply to everyone, and to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity," the Rafto Foundation said in its citation.

Uganda, where homosexuality is punishable with life imprisonment, saw the introduction of a bill in October 2009 that would make homosexual rape of a minor or the transmission of AIDS during homosexual relations subject to the death penalty.

Parliament hotly debated the law proposal, decried by the international community, before shelving it last May, although there is still room for it to be reintroduced.

SMUG, an umbrella organisation of groups working to protect the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals and intersexuals, "has played an important role in opposing the proposed ‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill’," the Rafto jury said.

For access to The Rafto Foundation’s reasons for awarding the 2011 Rafto Prize: http://www.rafto.no/publish_files/RaftoPrize2011-ReasonsForAwardingThe2011RaftoPrize.pdf
 

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