The Ugandan human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo has won the 2017 German Africa Prize. In a statement, the German Africa Foundation which has awarded the prize since 1993, said Opiyo had been honoured for his role in protecting peace, democracy, and human rights in the east African country.
Opiyo, founder of the human rights organization “Chapter Four Uganda”, has worked tirelessly since 2005 to defend civil liberties in Uganda, often for free and on behalf of society’s most vulnerable and marginalized.
Opiyo is reputed for fearlessly handling the most sensitive cases that many of his colleagues are afraid of. The 37-year-old lawyer is currently representing Stella Nyanzi, a Ugandan academic who has been charged with “cyber harassment” and “offensive communication” for comments she made concerning President Yoweri Museveni in a recent Facebook post.
“I’m very delighted to be the recipient of the award 2017. This award is very prestigious and I follow after extremely eminent Africans including the former South African public protector. It’s really humbling for me that this award was bestowed upon me,” Opiyo said in an interview with DW.
The German Africa Prize annually honours “outstanding individuals for their long-standing endeavours to foster democracy, peace, human rights, art, culture, the social market economy and social concerns” in Africa.