Ugandan lesbian rights activist allowed entry to UK

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A gay rights activist from Uganda, who was denied entry to the UK due to concerns over her financial status, has been allowed to attend a Northern Ireland Pride festival.

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera is the founder and executive director of Freedom and Roam Uganda.

Last week she was told she could not gain access to Northern Ireland to speak at the Foyle Pride Festival in Derry this weekend.

Foyle Pride chairwoman Shay Gillespie said at the time: “I can’t understand why the UK is the only country to deny her entry and deny the opportunity for the people of Derry and Northern Ireland as a whole the chance to hear this inspirational woman speak.”

A petition was set up to challenge the decision and Nabagesera was reportedly granted permission to attend on Monday within minutes of filing a second application.

Earlier this year, her colleague David Kato was murdered when the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone published a list of names, photos and addresses of gay people, calling for them to be hanged.

Nabagesera also appeared on the list.

Before attending the Pride event at the weekend, Nabagesera will deliver a speech to Amnesty International on Thursday.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International said: “Kasha Nabagesera is a courageous woman and we are delighted to bring her to Belfast.

“In the face of ongoing threats and attacks for her work, she has continued to speak out on behalf of Uganda’s LGBT community. She constantly has to shift from house to house, never staying too long in the same place, yet her voice for human rights in Uganda has never been dimmed.

“Kasha is here to tell people in Northern Ireland the real stories behind our reports and to explain how people here can support gay people in Uganda.”

Ms Nabagesera won the 2011 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, being described as “an exceptional woman of a rare courage, fighting under death threat for human dignity and the rights of homosexuals and marginalised people in Africa”.