Pambazuka News

Brutal murder of gay Ugandan human rights defender David Kato

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)

2011-01-27, Issue 514

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/action/70432

Following the brutal murder of acivist David Kato, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and the entire Ugandan lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community stand together to condemn the killing and call for the Ugandan government, civil society and local communities to protect sexual minorities across Uganda.

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and the entire Ugandan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Community stands together to condemn the killing of David Kato and call for the Ugandan Government, Civil Society, and Local Communities to protect sexual minorities across Uganda.

David was brutally beaten to death in his home today, 26 January 2011, around 2pm. Across the entire country, straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Ugandans mourn the loss of David, a dear friend, colleague, teacher, family member, and human rights defender.

David has been receiving death threats since his face was put on the front page of Rolling Stone Magazine, which called for his death and the death of all homosexuals. David’s death comes directly after the Supreme Court of Uganda ruled that people must stop inciting violence against homosexuals and must respect the right to privacy and human dignity.

Sexual Minorities Uganda and the Ugandan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Community call on the Police and the Government of Uganda to seriously investigate the circumstances surrounding David’s death. We also call on religious leaders, political leaders and media houses to stop demonizing sexual minorities in Uganda since doing so creates a climate of violence against gay persons. Val Kalende, the Chair of the Board at Freedom and Roam Uganda stated that “David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S Evangelicals in 2009. The Ugandan Government and the so-called U.S Evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood!”

As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently declared, “I understand that sexual orientation and gender identity raise sensitive cultural issues. But cultural practices cannot justify any violation of human rights. . . . When our fellow humans are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, we must speak out. . . . States bear the primary responsibility to protect human rights advocates. I call on all States to ensure the freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly that make their work possible. When the lives of human rights advocates are endangered, we are all less secure. When the voices of human rights advocates are silenced, justice itself is drowned out.”

David’s life was cut short in a brutal manner. David will be deeply missed by his family and friends, his students, and Human Rights organizations throughout Uganda and around the world. Speaking about what the death of David means in the struggle for equality, Frank Mugisha, the Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda said, “No form of intimidation will stop our cause. The death of David will only be honored when the struggle for justice and equality is won. David is gone and many of us will follow, but the struggle will be won. David wanted to see a Uganda where all people will be treated equally despite their sexual orientation.”

Burial arrangements are underway for Friday 28, 2011 at 2PM at his ancestral home in Namataba, Mukono District.

Press contacts:
Frank Mugisha: +1 646 436 1858
Email. fmugisha@sexualminoritiesuganda.org

There are 25 comments on this article.

Brother Kato,

They took you from us, I doubt they understand the full implications of their crime. I grieve for you, for your family, comrades, loved ones. I grieve for Africa. I grieve for us all.

Enough is enough. I hope we honor you in struggle.

Hakima

Gay activist murder part of trend of deteriorating rights

http://www.civicus.org/civicus-home/1648

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is greatly saddened by the news of the tragic murder of prominent gay rights activist David Kato in Uganda on 26 January 2011. CIVICUS calls upon the government of Uganda to carry out an immediate and independent investigation into the murder and bring the perpetrators to justice. CIVICUS also urges the government to demonstrate due diligence in stopping the ongoing homophobic campaigns and attacks prevalent in many parts of Ugandan society and abandon the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which has been before parliament since October 2009.

David Kato was reported murdered in his own home after suffering several blows to the head. Previous reports indicate that he had faced increasing threats and harassment after his photo appeared on the front page of a tabloid paper that published pictures, names and residential addresses of some members of the gay community in Uganda, under the headline "Hang Them".

While the reasons behind his murder cannot yet be determined, various authoritative reports and testimonies from the ground attest that the authorities offer little protection to gay people and activists. The 2010 human rights report published by Amnesty reveals that in Uganda, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) people and rights activists continued to face arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention, torture and other ill-treatment by police and other security personnel. Homosexual conduct is already a criminal act in Uganda in clear violation of international human rights standards. But 2009 saw a further increase of state-sponsored homophobia with the introduction of the proposed 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which is still pending, proposes to criminalise all homosexuality, making it punishable by a fine and life imprisonment. Repeat offenders would face the death penalty, while Ugandans would be obliged to report any homosexual activity within 24 hours or face police action themselves. Kato, an advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda, was one of the leading voices against the legislation. "Those that are willing to speak out against the discrimination of the gay community are increasingly under attack as the government allows the violation of the human rights of its own people" said Adele Poskitt, Policy Officer at CIVICUS.

The legal system that fails to protect the rights of homosexuals is not restricted to Uganda. There has been a disturbing increase in homophobia in various African countries, with a clampdown and strengthened legislation in criminalising homosexuality in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Swaziland. Even the progressive legislation of South Africa, which bans all anti-gay discrimination, was not able to prevent the death of lesbian activist and national football player, Eudy Simelane in 2008.

With shameless attacks from people within the community and media, condemnation by many of the US evangelical influenced churches and no protection by the authorities, the international community has a huge responsibility to protect the human rights of the gay community and gay activists under attack. CIVICUS calls upon global civil society, the international community, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the African Commission on Human and People's Rights and other intergovernmental organisations to exert pressure on the Ugandan government to protect the rights of gay people and activists in Uganda and respect the rule of law in the country.

{CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is a global movement of civil society dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society across the world. For more information please contact CIVICUS: Adele Poskitt(adele.poskitt@civicus.org)}

CIVICUS

Rest in Peace dear David. Your courage and commitment will always be remembered; your spirit will keep the struggle moving forward and the warmth in your heart brings shame to the vileness of those who took you away from us!

Sokari Ekine

The brutal murder of our colleague, friend and committed activist, David Kato, just one week ago, has shocked and saddened us beyond measure; we mourn his untimely passing both for the person he was, and for the contribution he made to the struggle for human rights, equality, constitutionalism and social justice in Uganda. We grieve with family and friends for this loss to us all, and we weep for a Uganda in which such an act can come to pass. We condemn in the strongest terms the perpetrator(s) of this act; we join our voice to the many who are calling for a full and fair investigation into David’s murder, and, once the facts of the matter are fully established, we demand the prosecution of the perpetrator/s to the fullest extent of the law.

To those who, before the facts of the matter have even been fully established, seek to trivialize the significance of this murder by portraying it as a robbery gone bad, and to those who gratuitously speculate that it was gay-on-gay violence, we say as follows:

In the climate of fear and homophobic hatred stirred up in Uganda by political and religious leaders, as well as some sections of the public media, a murder of this kind was increasingly possible; the question was not whether it would happen, but when. David, along with fellow activists, had been facing direct intimidation, including receiving threats, for many many months before he was killed. The matter now, therefore, is to ensure that those who survive can be better protected from violence.

We salute the Government of Uganda through the Media Center for coming out and expressing their commitment to the thorough investigation of this case and to assuring the safety of all Ugandans . We hope that the Government will be able to follow up on this promise.

In the same vein, we call on political leaders to abandon hate speech and to adhere to the principles of democratic constitutionalism; to those who seek political popularity through inciting hatred we point to the example of President Obama whose democratic power resides in a message of mutual respect and tolerance.

We also call all on religious leaders, whatever their denomination, and whether they are located in America or Uganda, to promote love of one’s neighbour rather than narrow-minded bigotry. Religious fundamentalism has done much to make such a murder possible in Uganda. The relentless references to Sodom and Gomorrah and what happen, but when. David, along with fellow activists, had been facing direct intimidation, including receiving threats, for many many months before he was killed. The matter now, therefore, is to ensure that those who survive can be better protected from violence.

We salute the Government of Uganda through the Media Center for coming out and expressing their commitment to the thorough investigation of this case and to assuring the safety of all Ugandans . We hope that the Government will be able to follow up on this promise.

In the same vein, we call on political leaders to abandon hate speech and to adhere to the principles of democratic constitutionalism; to those who seek political popularity through inciting hatred we point to the example of President Obama whose democratic power resides in a message of mutual respect and tolerance.

We also call all on religious leaders, whatever their denomination, and whether they are located in America or Uganda, to promote love of one’s neighbour rather than narrow-minded bigotry. Religious fundamentalism has done much to make such a murder possible in Uganda. The relentless references to Sodom and Gomorrah and what befell the citizenry there being one example of how such speech fuels violence and murder.

We also call on the media to be more responsible in their reporting as sometimes their stories may incite violence and thus fuel murders such as that of David. The fact that David was one of the persons named in the Rolling Stone tabloid as one of Uganda’s top 100 homosexuals, and the call therein to ‘Hang them’ cannot and should not easily be dismissed as having made no contribution to his subsequent murder.

As we move towards national elections, we call on the Ugandan Government to dismiss the Anti- Homosexuality Bill once and for all on the grounds that, if passed into law, it would not only be both unconstitutional and an assault on the rights of all Ugandans, but also a catalyst to homophobia and its dangerous consequences.

We further urge whoever comes to power after February 18th, whatever their political party, to take action to address the increasing homophobia in the country and the outdated laws which underpin it. The murder of David Kato, an activist in the cause of sexual minority rights, was not the first of its kind in Uganda. Please help us to ensure that it was the last.

THE CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

As the world mourns the death of David Kato, Uganda’s foremost gay rights activist, who was bludgeoned to death, the world has been robbed of yet another defender of peace and human rights. While Ugandan authorities claim the murder was the result of “random violence,” or “a robbery gone wrong” his murder was more akin to a state-sanctioned execution, cheered on by the local media and deep pocketed US-based evangelicals.
“Evangelicals from the United States, led by Pastors Carl Ellis Jenkins, Lou Engle, Scott Lively and Caleb Lee Brundidge, found a perfect storm of hatred in Uganda in 2009 and systematically stoked it by demonizing gay people as child molesters, an accusation which they knew would incite a violent reaction against openly gay people or anyone even suspected of being gay. The altogether predicable result was the murder of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato” said GMAD Executive Director Tokes M. Osubu today.
Today, of course, these very same evangelists claim that they “had no intention of stoking a violent reaction.” Putting a lighted match to gasoline and denying the intent to cause an explosion is as insincere as it is trite. They claim that homosexuality is unnatural. But what could possibly be more unnatural than urging mothers and fathers to despise their children because of how God made them.
GMAD calls on all people of faith in whose name these atrocities are being propagated to tell the Hate Missionaries “Not in Our Name and Not with Our Tithes!” and on the African-American community to stand up and resist this attack on its global family. This is especially critical as the bill in Uganda declaring homosexuality punishable by death has still not been withdrawn.
In addition, the LGBT community must come together as one and present a united front to those who would dismiss David Kato’s murder as an isolated incident, or just another killing in a violent country. GMAD urges everyone to attend a Call to Action scheduled for this Friday, February 4 at a time and place to be determined shortly.
Gay Men of African Descent, Inc. a 501(c)3 not-for-profit agency, is the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to the well-being of black, gay men and celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2011
www.gmad.org

Gay Men of African Descent, Inc.

What David Kato’s death can teach the world

By Navanethem Pillay

News of the brutal murder of Ugandan human rights activist David Kato has reverberated around the world. Kato was beaten to death at his home outside of Kampala on January 26. He had dedicated much of his working life to helping those persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In the months leading up to his death, he had himself been a target of a hate-campaign mounted by a local newspaper, The Rolling Stone, which printed his name, photograph and address alongside those of dozens of others the paper claimed were gay or lesbian, and called for them to be hanged.

Just last month, he and two other litigants took the newspaper to court, successfully securing an injunction against the newspaper to prevent it publishing similar stories in future. Kato’s visibility as an openly gay man and an activist for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people has understandably fuelled speculation that he was the victim of a fatal homophobic attack. At the time of writing, a police investigation continues into the circumstances of his death.

We must await the outcome of judicial proceedings to know who killed him and why. But whoever is responsible and whatever their motive, we know the fear felt by many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in Uganda and elsewhere who continue to face widespread prejudice and the constant threat of homophobic violence. Kato’s death robs them of a brave and eloquent advocate.

If Kato’s murder stimulates discussion about the violence and discrimination facing people because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity, then his death will not have been completely in vain. That discussion must inevitably address the question of decriminalising homosexuality. Criminal sanctions for homosexuality remain on the statute books in more than 70 countries, including Uganda.

Such laws are an anachronism, in most cases a hangover from the old days of colonial rule. They are inherently discriminatory and constitute a violation of the human rights of those whose conduct they seek to sanction. States often justify the existence of these laws with reference to popular opinion.

Yet popular opinion alone can never justify depriving certain people of their rights. People are entitled to disapprove of homosexuality. They are entitled to express their disapproval. But they are not entitled to harm or inflict violence on their fellow human beings, nor to use the criminal law to have them arrested, imprisoned, even in some cases executed, simply because they disapprove of them.

Decriminalising homosexuality is an essential first step towards establishing genuine equality before the law. But real, lasting progress cannot be achieved by changing laws alone. We must change minds as well. Like racism and misogyny, homophobia is prejudice born of ignorance. And like other forms of prejudice, the most effective long-term response is information and education.

Over the past half century, we have seen a marked shift in public attitudes in almost all societies towards race, gender and disability. The challenge, for all those who believe in human rights and non-discrimination, is to encourage a similar shift in public attitudes towards those whose sexual orientation or gender identity differs from that of the majority in society. This is a major undertaking that will require the involvement and commitment of us all.

Basic messages on non-discrimination, equality and human rights should be included in school curricula everywhere, reinforced by effective public education campaigns that engage the general public. The role of civil society is vital. Wherever social progress has been achieved over the last hundred years, it has involved the concerted efforts of community-based groups and other non-governmental organisations.

Today, with the presence of social media and Internet-based campaigns, the potential impact of civil society-led public education is greater than ever. We at the United Nations must be prepared to support and encourage this change. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has already committed himself to the task. Speaking on Human Rights Day on December 10, 2010, he pledged to work for the worldwide decriminalisation of homosexuality, using both private diplomacy and public advocacy to mobilise support.

“Violence will end only when we confront prejudice”, he said. “Stigma and discrimination will end only when we agree to speak out. That requires all of us to do our part; to speak out at home, at work, in our schools and communities; to stand in solidarity.”

Today, we mark the loss of a remarkable man, a remarkable human rights activist. Let us honour Kato’s memory by recommitting to the values he sought to defend: the equal worth and dignity of every human being, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.

Ms Pillay is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Uganda: VNC statement on brutal killing of Ugandan LGBT rights defender David Kato

The Violence is Not out Culture campaign condemns the brutal murder on 26 January 2011 of LGBT human rights defender, David Kato, of Uganda and extends its condolences to his colleagues at Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). David was a long term activist for rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Uganda, and was a highly respected and admired human rights defender within his community and worldwide.

David’s murder comes only three weeks after successfully suing a tabloid paper for calling for him, along with many others, to be hung for his sexual orientation. Whilst the Ugandan police have stated that there is no evidence his murder was a hate crime, homophobia in Uganda is on the rise.

National dialogue and understanding of homosexuality in Uganda is widely known to being strongly influenced by American Evangelical Christians, some of whom visited the country and took part in an anti-homosexuality conference that immediately preceded the filing of the anti-homosexuality bill in the parliament in 2009. The first draft of the bill called for the death sentence as a punishment for ‘repeat offenders’ of homosexuality. If it becomes law, the bill would violate international human rights law and lead to further human rights violations. David Kato was one of the main advocates campaigning against the bill, and received numerous death threats for his activism.

At the funeral for David Kato, the Anglican priest conducting the service broke into a rant condemning homosexuals, after which activists took over and buried the body. An excommunicated priest who has also campaigned for rights relating to sexual orientation conducted the rest of the service.

The Violence is Not our Culture campaign denounces the use of culture or religion as the justification for the hatred and violence being sowed against the LGBTI community in Uganda. We hold the Government of Uganda accountable in ensuring full investigations into the death of David Kato. Now more than ever is the time for the authorities to reassure Ugandans that it will protect them against threats and violence regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The government must provide guarantees that members of Uganda's LGBT community have adequate protection from violence and will take prompt action against all threats or hate speech likely to incite violence, discrimination, or hostility toward them.

Uganda: VNC statement on brutal killing of Ugandan LGBT rights defender David Kato

Source: VNC
The Violence is Not out Culture campaign condemns the brutal murder on 26 January 2011 of LGBT human rights defender, David Kato, of Uganda and extends its condolences to his colleagues at Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). David was a long term activist for rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Uganda, and was a highly respected and admired human rights defender within his community and worldwide.

David’s murder comes only three weeks after successfully suing a tabloid paper for calling for him, along with many others, to be hung for his sexual orientation. Whilst the Ugandan police have stated that there is no evidence his murder was a hate crime, homophobia in Uganda is on the rise.

National dialogue and understanding of homosexuality in Uganda is widely known to being strongly influenced by American Evangelical Christians, some of whom visited the country and took part in an anti-homosexuality conference that immediately preceded the filing of the anti-homosexuality bill in the parliament in 2009. The first draft of the bill called for the death sentence as a punishment for ‘repeat offenders’ of homosexuality. If it becomes law, the bill would violate international human rights law and lead to further human rights violations. David Kato was one of the main advocates campaigning against the bill, and received numerous death threats for his activism.

At the funeral for David Kato, the Anglican priest conducting the service broke into a rant condemning homosexuals, after which activists took over and buried the body. An excommunicated priest who has also campaigned for rights relating to sexual orientation conducted the rest of the service.

The Violence is Not our Culture campaign denounces the use of culture or religion as the justification for the hatred and violence being sowed against the LGBTI community in Uganda. We hold the Government of Uganda accountable in ensuring full investigations into the death of David Kato. Now more than ever is the time for the authorities to reassure Ugandans that it will protect them against threats and violence regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The government must provide guarantees that members of Uganda's LGBT community have adequate protection from violence and will take prompt action against all threats or hate speech likely to incite violence, discrimination, or hostility toward them.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Submitted on 01/31/2011

Monday, 31 January 2011

Submitted on 01/31/2011

The Violence is Not out Culture campaign

It is always very late for Africa to realize something terrible is happening; only after it happened and the disaster has already taken its toll. The Rwanda genocide took the lives of a million people due to the most outrageaous reason: ethnic bigotry. Today, the whole continent seems to be gripped with the fear of homosexuality when millions and millions have nothing to eat and development is supposed to be the concern. Once again, Africa is wallowing in the mire of another form bigotry, another outrageous reason to kill people, on the sexual orientation of individuals. It is indeed a paradox of historic proportion when a conitinent suffering from collosal poverty considers what individuals do in their bedrooms and the love they express to the human being of their choice is so detrimental that such individuals deserve death if "they are on the worng side" of sexual orientation. It is indeed a tragedy of immense proportion. How come Ungandans are not so concerned about their country's poverty instead of about who individuals fall in love with? What is the fear that gripps them from discussing homosexuality publicly? If it is so detrimental, why not discuss it publicly?

Melakou Tegegn, Development Pinnacle

The Queer African Youth Networking Center Condemns the Violent Death of David Kato

California, January 28, 2011

The murder of David Kato, a prominent LGBTQI activist from Uganda, comes as a shock to the Advisory Board and volunteers of QAYN. “Young African activists such as us at the Queer African Youth Networking Center have been looking up to tenacious human rights defenders, like David,” says Mariam Armisen, Program Director, “He put his life in danger every second he dared to shine light on the conditions of LGBTQI people in Africa. We owe it to him to continue the work.”

We, younger queer activists working to establish a network of LGBQTI African youth, can’t just sit around while our young people are constantly inundated with stories about murder, corrective rape, torture and unwarranted arrests of our fellow countrymen and women. As African Diaspora, we have a moral obligation to leverage our resources in the fight for equality and provide visibility and support to our sisters and brothers who are at greater risk of physical harm.”
QAYN joins its voice to loudly condemn and call upon the Ugandan Government to promptly investigate and arrest the perpetrators of this heinous crime.
We send our sincere condolences to Kato’s family, loved ones and to the whole Uganda LGBTI community and to those who attended the funeral to ensure that David Kato got a dignified funeral.

QAYN is a co-sponsor and will take part in a vigil and silent procession organizes by the International Gay Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) in New York, this coming Thursday, February 3 to honor Kato.

In solidarity

Mariam Armisen
Founding Director
The Queer African Youth Networking Center
www.gayn-center.org
Tel: 510-985-3032
E: mariam@gayn-center.org

The Queer African Youth Networking Center

Front Line is deeply saddened by the news of the killing of David Kato. His murder is a tragic loss for the human rights community in Uganda and internationally. David was a friend of Front line and participated in our Dublin Platform in February 2010. He gave a powerful and moving testimony about the challenges and risks of his work in Uganda.

"Front Line is outraged at this latest attack on LGBTI human rights defenders in Uganda and calls on the Government of Uganda to take immediate and urgent steps to protect the human rights of members of the gay community who are doubly discriminated against - because of who they are as well as because of what they do" said Mary Lawlor, Director of Front Line, in Dublin today.

"Speaking at the Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders in February 2010 David Kato spoke of the dangers faced by LGBTI human rights defenders on a daily basis. He also spoke of the need to stand up and be counted. Sadly he has paid for that courage with his life" she added.

Front Line expresses its deepest sympathy to David's family, his colleagues and friends, and the entire LGBTI and human rights community in Uganda.

Andrew Anderson, Front Line; International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

It is insane. This man had so much going for him, so much energy and determination. I grieve with his family and friends, and indeed with the whole African continent. May he rest in peace.

Rethabile Masilo

Dear All,

In lieu of the death of David Kato in Uganda, Gay Kenya invites you
all to lay tribute in honor of David Kato at the Ugandan Embassy
tomorrow, January 28th from 10am. This will coincide with his burial
taking place tomorrow at his rural home. Flowers donated by Gay Kenya
will be laid at the front of the Embassy, riverside drive, just before
the German embassy. In addition, candles will be lit to honor his life
and work. Flowers, banners, candles and any memorabilia are most
welcome tomorrow.

Gay Kenya has issued a statement for release and can be found below.

We ask all activists, LGBTI persons and human rights defenders to join
us tomorrow for this small but important mark of respect to our fallen
comrade.

Please distribute widely.

Denis Nzioka

WE CONDEMN THE MURDER OF DAVID KATO
http://www.gaykenya.com/news/3884.html

Gay Kenya Trust – GKT, condemns in the strongest terms possible the heinous murder of the Ugandan Gay Rights activist, David Kato.

David Kato was subject to heinous attacks by a section of the Ugandan media, politicians and religious elite because of his dedication to the struggle for the Rights of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and intersex people of Uganda. These attacks culminated in his being beaten to death in his house on the 26th of January 2011.

David Kato whose photo had been carried repeatedly by a section of the Ugandan Press, some calling for his execution, did not fear or cower at such threats, but instead rededicated himself in his work for a Uganda and East Africa, that respected the equality of all human beings without any form of discrimination or exclusion.

He is very well known here in Kenya, having participated in our LGBTI rights activism milestones of World Social Forum in 2007, and at the GALCK centre where he together with other activists, sought refuge from persecution by the Ugandan Government in 2008.

We at GKT, call upon the Ugandan Government to immediately investigate and bring to book his Killer(s) and to without further delay withdraw the anti-homosexuality bill, which has become a source of so much hatred and animosity against the LGBTI Ugandans.

We also call upon the religious leaders particularly Conservative evangelical American Church, on whose doorsteps lies so much suffering of the LGBT people in East Africa, to immediately and without delay condemn and disassociate themselves from any form of violence against LGBT people – They surely must understand that in Africa their message is taken literally and they remain the sole spiritual sponsors of these murderers.

We send our heartfelt condolences to the Ugandan LGBTI community who are mourning the death of one of their forefront soldiers. We realize that this is a difficult moment for the community, but it would not be right to give in to fear or intimidation – that is what his killers would want. David Kato would most certainly not want that. That is why they must re-double their efforts to hold the Government of Uganda, The Ugandan Press, and the Ugandan Religious Leadership to account for their role in the murder of David Kato. David is a true Ugandan Martyr, and we at GKT regard him as such – we shall enshrine his inspiration and vision of a world of true equality and non-discrimination among all human beings regardless of their personal situations or genetic conditions.

Gay Kenya

Concerning this matter. I want to ask a question. I want to release all the anger I feel to all the self righteous, enchanted, prophets of doom and men of God. Now that there is one less queer person {who was clobbered to death}in Africa - a brave soldier, a son to a mother, a brother, a parent, a mentor, a lover, a teacher, for Christ Sake, a human being. 'Are you really happy?!'

Until when shall this keep up? When are you going to hush your mouths and realize the same words you utter, with your poisonous tongues that cut like blades - actually end up killing people.

Next time, it might be your queer sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers and if you serve the same God I have heard of. The same one I knew from since I was a child. Please, for your own sakes stop enslaving the people's minds - and stop judging,... for that is his work and grow some conscience - before we send off another dear one.

There was a time it was wrong to be black, what happened? There was a time it was unrighteous to be Moslem, what happened? Recently in Kenya it was wrong to belong to one ethnic group, what happened? After 400 hundred years of slavery, A hundred years of colonization, And current time of imperialism, capitalism and oppression, How many more shall die, Really, we as Africans, - isn’t there nothing we have learnt through all that history? Or is it that we forget things that fast? How long shall we burry our heads in the sand in pretence that all this is not happening? I as a child of Africa - has been shamed to be one. For the hundredth time in my life, I despise my continent, for doing nothing to be the change they advocate for so much, TO END ALL THIS KILLINGS!!

Blessol
Fahamu Pan African Fellow

Gathoni Blessol

The African Men for Sexual Heath and Rights (AMSHeR) is saddened by the news of the murder of David Kato, and calls on the Ugandan government to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators.

David Kato was a leading human rights defender, from Uganda, who tirelessly worked to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by everyone regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. He was murdered in his home in Mukano, Uganda on January 26, 2011, after messages of distress he sent over death threats he had been receiving from unknown sources.

David will be remembered for his dedication to the protection of LGBT people from human rights violations in Uganda and his involvement in the formulation and implementation of strategies against the Ugandan Anti-homosexuality bill. He was one of the three Ugandan activists who lodged and won a lawsuit against the Rolling Stone magazine, a Ugandan tabloid that published the names and pictures of alleged gay and lesbian people in that country, calling on the public to “hang them”.

“David was a hero, his courage and tireless efforts will continue to inspire us and many other activists on the continent” said Joel Gustave Nana, the Executive Director of AMSHeR. ‘ He truly believed in the universality and indivisibility of human rights” he continued, he worked as Advocacy Officer at Sexual Minority Uganda (SMUG) until he was met by his slayer(s) but, he never hesitated to expand his Ugandan mandate to stand in solidarity with other human rights defenders elsewhere in and out of Africa. One of the latest

One of David’s projects before his death was a project was a call to stand in solidarity with LGBT defenders being harassed in Senegal and Cameroon, at the upcoming World Social Forum.

To commemorate David’s death and celebrate his legacy, AMSHeR joins OUT Well-being, the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras & Arts Festival Committee, Mambaonline.com and MR South Africa to organise a vigil at the Ugandan High Commission at 882 Church Street, Arcadia, Pretoria, on Friday 28 January 2011 at 5 pm.

Contact
Mtinkheni Munthali
Johannesburg, South Africa

African Men for Sexual Heath and Rights (AMSHeR)

The Board, Management and members of Ishtar MSM are in grief and shock over the sudden departure of renowned Ugandan gay rights defender and founding member of Sexual Minorities Uganda, The Late David Kato. We highly condemn the heinous injustice that resulted to his death and hope that justice will prevail. David Kato was our friend, mentor, critic and colleague. He was instrumental in the LGBTI rights movement both in Uganda and the whole of the East African region. His demise is a huge loss to the movement. His dedication to the liberation of LGBTI persons in Uganda shall not be in vain. He was a mentor and will remain one to many activists. We join our fellow Ugandan activists during this trying time. We shall not relent! The persecution of our brothers shall not deter us, Morning will come!

Ishtar MSM

Ishtar MSM

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.


Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead

Scribbling on the sky the message
He Is Dead,

Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,

Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
 
From a poem by the English poet W.H. Auden, written at the deathbed of his partner.
 
Dear friends

On a cold winter morning in Oslo, as the light slowly emerges outside, my heart weeps.

LLH got the news about David’s murder late last night, and we are still in shock. On behalf of the organization let me first of all offer our condolences to all of you, friends, comrades and family. Although far away, we stand by your side in this time of sorrow.

I got to know David on my first visit to Kampala in 2006, and from that moment on he became a dear friend and an important ally in the struggle against oppression of our community. He taught me about courage and compassion; He never relented even when the threats against his person made us try to convince him to stay away from Uganda, at least for a while. He always opened his heart and home to those rejected by everyone, sometimes at great cost. His energy and tenacity when he ran around to police stations, jails and hospitals to assist whoever needed it awed me.

Now, at this moment of great sorrow I try to say to myself that the lessons he gave me were not in vain. I still cannot imagine how we shall be able to continue without him, but I vow to myself that we will honour his memory by trying to live the example he gave us by his life.

In solidarity from

Annika and LLH

Annika Rodriguez, LLH

ILGA CONDEMS DAVID KATO?S MURDER URGING UGANDA AUTHORITIES TO ENSURE SAFETY LGBTI COMMUNITY

Brussels, January 26, 2011 -- ILGA the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
Trans and Intersex association is appalled and shocked by the murder of gay
rights activist David Kato in Uganda on Wednesday. Kato?s body was found by
neighbors in his house in Kampala on Wednesday hacked on the head with a
hammer. From Mexico-city ILGA?s co-secretary-general, Gloria Careaga issued
a forceful demand to Uganda?s authorities, to stop the persecution and
violence against LGBTI people and to thoroughly and promptly investigate
?this hideous crime?. ?We demand justice and respect. Our international work
is based on the phrase ?Nobody is safe until everybody is safe?, Careaga
stated.

Kato?s murder comes only weeks after the Uganda Supreme Court told the local
magazine ?Rolling Stones? to stop publishing names of prominent Ugandan
alleged homosexuals and calling for them to be hanged. It now seems someone
apparently took up the magazine?s call and David Kato, who was out already
as gay man and LGBTI activist has become the first lethal victim of the
magazine?s hate call. Careaga: ?First we need to mourn David and celebrate
his life and legacy, while giving comfort and support to his family, friends
and fellow-activists in Uganda and all over the world. But then we will have
to ensure that his death proves that the wave of hate towards LGBTI people
in Africa and particularly in Uganda must be stopped and turned around". She
quoted a statement of Kato in an interview by the New Internationalist
Magazine last year: ?I can?t run away and leave the people I am protecting.
People might die, but me, I will be the last one to run out of here?. ?David
Kato did not run, and he died. We cannot leave his work undone? Gloria
Careaga stressed.

David Kato visited the ILGA?s headquarter in Brussels as recently as march
last year on a tour of European institutions and governments to boost
support against the Ugandan law proposal aiming to make homosexuality
punishable by death. Kato has been arrested three times for his activism and
faced innumerable other forms of harassment and assault. A long-time
activist, Kato had earned the title of ?grandfather of the kuchus? ? as gay
men in Kampala call themselves ? for his work on behalf of people in the
LGBT community. In the past he has sheltered many people in his home,
visited them in prison and worked for their release. He worked as the
advocacy and litigation officer for SMUT, Sexual Minorities Uganda, Uganda?s
main LGBTI Rights group. David Kato?s murder ironically comes on the same
day that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon made the strongest
call ever by the UN for an end to human rights violations based on sexual
orientation and gender identity.



Mario Kleinmoedig
ILGA Press Officer

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

January 28, 2011

STATEMENT ON THE BRUTAL MURDER OF FELLOW HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER DAVID KATO

The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya is shocked and outraged at the news of the murder of David Kato, SMUG’s Advocacy and Litigation Officer. We join our Ugandan brothers and sisters in mourning this truly tragic attack on our community.

David had been an outspoken human rights defender who never shied from engaging the Ugandan society on the need of having all Ugandans including LGBTI Ugandans be treated as equal citizens under the law. This dastardly attack and murder of a LGBTI Human Rights defender is an attack on all of us and we support SMUG’s call for prompt and thorough investigations by the relevant authorities.

For those who do not believe that hate speech kills well here is the proof. Over the past few years, hate speech and action have been blowing into our region mainly led by American evangelical pastors. Together with hate filled pastors in the region a slow, poisonous and murderous environment has been created specifically targeting the regions LGBTI communities. We at GALCK denounce this movement and request all right minded people to condemn it and to work diligently to remove it from our midst.

David was and will continue to be seen as our leader in the fight against attacks on LGBTI communities and for the demand for equal treatment of LGBTI citizens of Uganda. Many of us worked with David and Kenya often hosted Ugandan activists who had to leave the country when the attacks became overwhelming. As SMUGS Advocacy and litigation Officer, David was not shy of being the face of the community in the public domain. If his killers believe that this dastardly act will intimidate us they are VERY WRONG!! If anything this very act will have us redouble our energies in the fight for the rights that are due to us as fellow human beings.

GALCK sends its prayers and condolences to David’s family, friends and to the Ugandan LGBTI community at large. GALCK also stands in solidarity with SMUG and we will join you in whatever action you feel necessary to ensure that this dastardly act is truly investigated and the perpetrator(s) are brought to justice. We also support your call on religious leaders, political leaders and media houses to stop demonizing sexual minorities in Uganda since doing so creates a climate of violence against gay persons.

As East Africans we must honor David’s death by redoubling our efforts of demanding equal rights and justice for all East Africans including those of us who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex.

May David rest in peace!

GALCK

THE GAY AND LESBIAN COALITION OF KENYA

Statement by UAF-Africa on the murder of Ugandan Rights Activist David Kato

For Immediate Release


Urgent Action Fund-Africa (UAF-Africa), would like to express outrage and dismay at the brutal murder of David Kato that took place in Kampala-Uganda on 26th January, 2011. Kato was a vocal and well known campaigner for the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) individuals in Uganda.

UAF-Africa calls upon the government of Uganda to promptly investigate, arrest, and charge the individuals behind the unfortunate murder of Kato. We note with concern the rising intolerance against LGBTI individuals in Uganda as evidenced by the tabling of the 2009 Anti Homosexuality Bill, the utterances of several religious leaders, and the discriminatory coverage in sections of the Ugandan media, most recently in 2010, by the Rolling Stone newspaper.

The possibility that Kato could have been killed because of his sexual orientation has put the lives of other LGBTI individuals at risk in a society that is increasingly intolerant of sexual minorities. We call on the government of Uganda to put in place measures that will guarantee the protection and security of LGBTI individuals and other sexual minorities living in Uganda.

We laud the Supreme Court ruling that noted that the Rolling Stone Newspaper had violated the constitutional right to privacy of LGBTI individuals by publishing their names, photographs and addresses. In view of this, we demand that the Ugandan media exercise great caution and responsibility in their reporting. Responsible journalism is about championing equality, and the rights of all citizens.

The kind of reporting practiced by the Rollingstone newspaper creates a climate of virulent homophobia. It is unfortunate and highly regrettable that a newspaper should call on people to be killed because of who they love, how they look, or who they are and publish their pictures and in some cases their addresses.

Urgent Action Fund-Africa recognizes that sexual orientation and gender identity are integral aspects of our selves and should never lead to discrimination, abuse or murder.
We should not make people live in constant fear of losing their jobs, their families, their livelihoods, their freedom, and their lives because they are seen as different from the rest of us.

UAF-Africa calls upon the government of Uganda to be cognizant of its responsibility to promote, protect, and respect the human rights of all citizens and other people living in the country, and put measures in place that assure everyone of this protection.

Alice K-Mutuma
Communications
Urgent Action Fund-Africa

Urgent Action Fund-Africa

28th January 2011

Dear Sexual Minority Uganda and the Entire LGBTIQ community Worldwide.

We at Persons Marginalized and Aggrieved(PEMA Kenya) condemn with deep sadness and heavy hearts the Brutal Murder and untimely demise of one of our own, David Kato. He was a phenomenal man whose various successes are widely known, and his wealth of knowledge and experience in advocating for LGBTIQ rights is unchallenged. We the LGBTIQ community have been robbed of a truly selfless man, who worked tirelessly as a champion for our rights not only in Uganda but all over the world as well. Our sincere condolences go out to his family, his friends and the entire Staff of Sexual Minority Uganda and all those people whose lives were touched positively through his efforts. David Kato, we will truly miss you brother and friend. Rest in Peace comrade.

Sincerely,

Cyrus Muiya Chairman
Douglas Masinde Secretary
Esther Adhiambo, Programmes Coordinator

Persons Marginalized and Aggrieved (PEMA Kenya)

On behalf of Artists For Recognition and Acceptance (AFRA-Kenya) we would like to take this opportunity to register our sincere condolences to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), family, friends and fellow community members of our comrade David Kato who was brutally murdered on the afternoon of 26th January, 2011 at his home.

We are therefore condemning in every way possible the killing of David, our hero, mentor, tower of strength as well as a firm and focussed human rights defender whose life was committed to ensuring that discrimination and other violations against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans gender and Inter-sex (LGBTI) community on the grounds of their sexual orientation and gender identity were eliminated. It saddens us that David Kato, a voice that penetrated into our souls, a personality that touched each of our lives in a very special way was denied his very right to life for being himself while selflessly serving the Ugandan LGBTI community.

We urge the Ugandan Government to immediately undertake investigations and bring the culprits of this heinous act to face the full arm of the law. Human rights apply to every individual. Human rights are for ALL! It is unfair that a family of this innocent man who did his work relentlessly and with amazing energy and hope have now been robbed off their son, uncle, cousin, their source of support, strength and a beloved child that was God's blessing to them!

We at AFRA-Kenya are taking Kato's sudden demise as a wake up call. We will not rest but continue the wonderful work that he began. This is a reminder that none of us are safe. David Kato will be greatly missed in this fraternity! Rest in Peace Sweetheart!

Aluta Continua...

Sincerely,

Kate Kamunde,
Program Coordinator

Artists For Recognition and Acceptance (AFRA-Kenya)

David Kato committed so much of his time to what he cared about. He made a difference to the lives of Ugandans, and continued his work in the face of the RS publishing his photograph. He was a brave, committed and dedicated man, and an inspiration to activists, young and old alike.

Thank you, Mr Kato, for all you have done for us.

Kaleidoscope Youth Network

the whole lgbt world is at grieve we are shocked how could this happen ? where does this hate and bitterness come from ? His death will mark a change in Uganda , his death will not be in vain.we shall not silenced, the struggle continues ,my deepest sympathy and condolence to the lgbt in Uganda and Davids family.one human nation with kind regards khanya .

khanya

My deepest sympathy to David Kato's family, friends, community, colleagues. His life work for equality will continue. His courage and passion for justice will live on in all of us.

Shailja Patel

The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, Treatment Action Campaign and Section27 are saddened and outraged to learn of the brutal murder of comrade David Kato in Kampala, Uganda yesterday, 26 January 2011. We join activists in Africa and across the world in condolences to fellow comrades in Uganda, his loved ones, family and friends.
See: http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/action/70473

Lesbian and Gay Equality Project et al