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Sexual Minorities Uganda, Frank Mugisha win Rafto Prize for human rights

OSLO, Norway – The annual Rafto Prize for human rights was today awarded to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and its leader Frank Mugisha for working to promote the rights of LGBT people in Uganda.

Uganda is considered the line in the sand between advocates for equality for LGBT people and those who want to criminalize homosexuality. The nation’s Parliament continues to have a debate over whether to approve the controversial “Kill The Gays” bill, which has been condemned by a vast majority of nations around the world.

Mugisha was scheduled to appear at a cocktail reception on April 5 in San Diego, but had to cancel the event after his doctors ordered him to stay home so he could be treated for anxiety attacks following the murder of his SMUG co-worker and friend David Kato.

Norway’s top leaders congratulated Sexual Minorities Uganda for its brave effort to fight homophobia amid a very dangerous climate at home for LGBT Ugandans.

“I would like to congratulate Sexual Minorities Uganda on winning this important prize. It is a recognition of Sexual Minorities Uganda's courageous efforts to promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Uganda,” Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said.

Those comments were echoed by another top official in Norway.

“We see this as a tribute to all those who dare to stand up against the discrimination and hate crime sexual minorities are often subjected to. SMUG is working to dispel myths and prejudice so that, in the long term, society will realise that human rights are for all,” said Erik Solheim, Norway's Minister for the Environment and International Development.