Nabagesera is the founder and Executive Director of the Ugandan lesbian, bisexual and transgender women’s rights organization Freedom and Roam Uganda. She was and continues to be one of the most exposed persons from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Uganda, as she has been giving interviews on national TV and radio stations as an open lesbian, promoting LGBT rights in a very hostile environment.
Last autumn, the Uganda newspaper Rolling Stone published pictures and contact information on 100 “top homos” in Uganda and called for their hanging. A few months later, David Kato, a friend and fellow activist of Nabagesera, was brutally murdered in his own home.
During the ceremony, Hans Thoolen, Chairman of the jury of the Award, described Nabagesera as “a leading light, an exceptional woman of a rare courage, fighting under death threat for human dignity”. The Martin Ennals Award is named after the co-founder of numerous human rights organizations, and the first Secretary of Amnesty International. The Award is granted annually to a person in the frontline in the promotion and protection of human rights, as a means to extend recognition and protective publicity.
In her speech at the ceremony, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang recalled the historic resolution of the Human Rights Council adopted in the June session 2011, which expressed grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Nabagesera said she received the price on behalf of very many people around the world who are voiceless. She also said that LGBT people need the support of everyone: “Together, we can make this world a better place, for you are not free if your neighbor is not free”.