A Congolese refugee living in Uganda, Mr Aime Moninga, has won the European Union (EU) Human Rights Defender award for his ground breaking work with male survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and abuse.
He was nominated for the award for his commitment in supporting survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and his leadership skills of Men of Hope- a survivors’ association.
Mr Moninga who received the award from the EU and Norway at a function held in Kampala on Thursday has put difficult and sensitive issue on the policy agenda in an unprecedented way both on a national and international level and he is developing a generation of survivors who are prepared to testify in public to their experiences.
“He was chosen as this year’s award winner from among 50 nominations received from members of the public in Uganda, reads a statement by the EU in Uganda.
The EU revealed that problems faced by male victims of sexual violence were hardly discussed even in human rights spheres until few years ago.
“Being a refugee and a violence survivor himself [Mr] Aime Moninga has managed to mobilise many other survivors to speak. His advocacy efforts have also yielded results. For example, the Ugandan Police Force training curricula now includes references to both female and male victims of sexual abuse and violence. He is also advocating for further legislative changes,” the statement continues.
Receiving the prize, Mr Moninga said that it was for him and all sexual violence survivors and a consideration and recognition of the struggle against impunity.
However, he added that although a recognition and an award were made, “the struggle remains long and difficult” due to legal and cultural barriers in place in various countries.
The Swedish ambassador to Uganda, Mr Per Lindgarde said: “Being an activist is not easy but being a refugee human rights activist in an area of rights that sometimes is not even not recognised or acknowledged is indeed the sharp end of activism.”
The European Union ambassador to Uganda, Mr Attilio Pacifici, said “Human rights are not advanced by themselves. It takes the courage of women and men, organisations and institutions to advance this agenda and ensure that rights become a lived reality for everyone in society.”
The Human Rights Defenders Award is presented annually by the EU and Norway to recognise an outstanding contribution by a human rights defender active in Uganda.
This year’s award, the ninth of its kind is also given in memory of the ex-head of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, the late Meddie Kaggwa for his important contribution to human rights and to recognise his championing of the work of human rights defenders.