Nicholas Opiyo received the prestigious German Africa Prize on Thursday at a solemn ceremony in the Allianz Forum at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. 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.
The award was presented to the fearless lawyer and people’s advocate by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the event, which was attended by more 250 guests, drawn from politics, business and society.
Opiyo was honoured for his outstanding commitment to the defence of human rights and political freedoms in Uganda.
“The dignity of man […] is not a luxury of Western constitutions, which is why this year’s Africa Prize is especially close to my heart because it goes to a man who does not accept the disregard, violation or denial of this universal human dignity. And with that, dear Nicholas Opiyo, you are a role model and a catalyst for an Africa of new beginning,” President Steinmeier said in his eulogy.
Nicholas Opiyo achieved international recognition through his successful lawsuit against the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014, which was subsequently declared null and void by the Ugandan’s Supreme Court. Most recently, Opiyo was at the centre of public debate in Uganda last week when he tried to obtain an arrest warrant against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who was on a state visit to Kampala, for extradition to the International Criminal Court, where he’s being sought for crimes against humanity.
Opiyo’s tireless commitment to political freedoms and civil rights has not only made him one of Uganda’s key opinion leaders, but also a key figure in Uganda’s future democratic development and a harbinger of hope for many people inside and outside the country.
The German Africa Foundation (Deutsche Afrika Stiftung or DAS) has been committed to promoting German-African relations for almost 40 years. With the German Africa Prize, the organisation honours outstanding personalities who stand up for democracy, peace, human rights, art and culture, economic development and social issues with courage, commitment and integrity. For more than 20 years, the German Africa Prize has presented success stories from the African continent to Germans.
Sola Jolaoso with DAS press statement