Laureates highlight women’s rights, Belarus and LGBT+ people in Uganda during UN Human Rights Council

News 14.07.2022

Right Livelihood Laureates and the Right Livelihood Foundation, speaking on their behalf, drew the international community’s attention to human rights issues around the world during the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council, including the need for investing in local women’s movements, the situation of LGBT+ people in Uganda and political prisoners in Belarus.

Laureates addressed the Council in Geneva over the last four weeks as part of Right Livelihood’s Advocacy work.

In particular, the Laureates and the Foundation highlighted the following issues:

Investment in women’s movements

Feminist activist and Right Livelihood Laureate Mozn Hassan, who addressed the Council in person, called for investment in developing local women’s rights organisations, especially those led by girls and young women.

“Their work is still severely obstructed by conservative family values and gender norms, and activists are often affected by a social and political backlash, including at the risk of their own safety,” Hassan said.

LGBT+ rights in Uganda

Ugandan LGBT+ activist and 2015 Right Livelihood Laureate Kasha Nabagesera asked the international body to urge the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships in Uganda, warning that members of the LGBT+ community in the country face discrimination, violence and persecution.

“As I speak, hundreds of persons are seeing their rights violated, just for being who they are and for who they love,” Nabagesera said in a video statement. 

“Today, in Uganda, a person can still be sentenced to life just for engaging in consensual same-sex intercourse. Activists, on the other hand, face up to 5 years for having shared information on sexual orientation and gender identity-related topics.”

Political prisoners in Belarus

In a statement prepared jointly with 2020 Right Livelihood Laureate organisation Human Rights Centre “Viasna,” the Right Livelihood Foundation called on Belarusian authorities to release all political prisoners, including members of Viasna.

“We deplore the precarious detention conditions and ill-treatment to which [Viasna members] and the other political prisoners, whose number has doubled since June last year, are subjected,” our statement said.

Corruption in Guatemala

Meanwhile, we also warned that under Guatemala’s recently re-elected attorney general, corruption will continue and those defending the country’s justice system will face increased persecution.

“Throughout the past four years, instead of fulfilling her professional responsibility to fairly administer justice, Consuelo Porras not only supported the dismantling of judicial institutions but also systematically blocked any corruption investigations involving President Giammattei,” our statement said.

Indigenous rights in Nicaragua

In another statement delivered by Right Livelihood, we noted that indigenous peoples in Nicaragua face alarming levels of violence and land grabs by illegal settlers, increasing the risk of ethnocide.

“Indigenous communities are suffering a humanitarian crisis due to forced displacement. Those who remain in their territories are subject to constant attacks by illegal settlers,” our statement said.

Side event on the role of education in reaching gender equality

Besides statements at the Council, we also highlighted Laureates’ causes at a side event we organised on the vital importance of education in reaching gender equality.

Panellists, including 2021 Right Livelihood Laureate Marthe Wandou, 2016 Right Livelihood Laureate Mozn Hassan and 2002 Right Livelihood Laureate organisation Kvinna till Kvinna, stressed that education was an essential pillar for advancing women’s rights worldwide, especially when used to strengthen gender equality and feminist solidarity.

Read our advocacy highlights for the 50th Session of the HRC

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