MEPS nominate Ugandan gay rights activist for Dutch Human Rights Tulip Award
On behalf of the LGBT Intergroup of the European Parliament MEPs Sophie in ‘t Veld (D66/ALDE) and Dennis de Jong (SP/GUE) nominated Ugandan gay rights activist Frank Mugisha for the Human Rights Tulip, the annual human rights prize awarded by the Dutch government.
As director of the organization Sexual Minorities Uganda (Smug) Mugisha has exhibited exceptional courage in doing his life threatening work of empowering gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgenders in Uganda. His predecessor, David Kato, was murdered last year. Besides the members of the LGBT Intergroup, COC and ILGA World, representing respectively the LGBT interest in the Netherlands and worldwide, have expressed their support for the nomination.
"The human rights situation for gay people in African countries is terrible. In some countries it worsens every day. The courageous struggle of Mugisha, sometimes risking his live, deserves not only this sign of recognition but also encouragement," says In ‘t Veld. De Jong: "International attention for the important work this man is doing is absolutely necessary. The previous director of his organization, David Kato, was murdered because of his commitment to LGBT human rights. Things like this should never happen again. Especially now recognition and the accompanying financial support for his work at the local level are more important than ever."
In ‘t Veld and De Jong are pleased to nominate Mugisha together with their European colleagues. "The European Parliament is now leading the fight for LGBT rights," says In ‘t Veld. In many European countries in recent years great progress has been made, but in some other countries lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are still under great pressure. "We must grab the momentum and see to it that we do not end up in a negative spiral that leads to homophobia tightening its grip on Europe" De Jong warns. "The Netherlands should give this award to Mugisha to show that Europe and the Netherlands remain firm on LGBT rights" says In ‘t Veld
The struggle for gay rights is still a sensitive subject. Even in countries where human rights are a high priority, it is often neglected. In ‘t Veld: "Even the Netherlands in recent years became less gay-friendly. We currently hold 6th place in the ILGA rankings of most LGBT-friendly countries. That is not acceptable: The Netherlands should strive to top that list." Supporting Human Rights defenders is one of the priorities of the Dutch human rights policy. De Jong: "It would be fitting for the Netherlands to grant Mugisha the Tulip Award and reach out to an early champion of LGBT rights. It would match all international efforts of our country in this area." That is why gay rights advocates like Frank Mugisha should be honored, encouraged and supported, says in ‘t Veld.
Mugisha is honored and pleased with his nomination: "The fight for rights for LGBT groups in Uganda is very important to protect the lives of those who are discriminated against, arrested or even physically attacked in this homophobic society. With my work I hope to provide inspiration for all these people and give them perspective and courage in the struggle for a liberal and tolerant society. "
For more information:
Sophie in ‘t Veld +32-477623765
Dennis de Jong +31-651072894
or their press officers
Yvonne Doorduyn +32-484201518
Niels Jongerius +32-474532581