Astraea decries the brutal murder of David Kato, a tireless human rights defender for LGBTI people in Uganda and sends deep condolences to his family, friends, and fellow activists. We stand with our partners in Uganda and the region in their uncompromising fight for human rights and call for a full investigation of Davids death and for increased protection for the rights and safety of human rights defenders.
|David Kato (c) 2009 AP Images
Attend a vigil to remember David Kato in New York on Thursday, Febuary 3rd at 4pm.
David Kato was the litigation officer of Sexual Minorities Uganda and a former teacher. On January 3rd, he was one of three plaintiffs who won a Supreme Court case in calling on a Ugandan paper, Rolling Stone Magazine (no affiliation with the U.S. publication), to stop publishing the names, addresses, and photos of alleged homosexuals with calls for their deaths. David had been receiving death threats ever since his photo appeared on the cover in October 2010.
David was also a leading voice in the human rights coalition against the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill since its introduction in October 2009. Val Kalende, the Chair of the Board of Freedom and Roam Uganda said in a statement, Davids 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 Davids blood! (Read the full press release below.)
Astraea is deeply saddened and alarmed at these developments, and calls for government, religious leaders, and all principled people to stand up for human rights and unequivocally demand an end to scapegoating, fear-mongering and violence.
For more information:
New York Times Article
BBC Obituary: Uganda gay activist David Kato
Astraea Program Officer Jan 2010 interview with OutFM about U.S. Religious Fundamentalist influence in Uganda
Human Rights Watch Press Release
Sexual Minorities Uganda Press Release:
BRUTAL MURDER OF GAY UGANDAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Kampala, UgandaSexual 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. Davids 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 Davids 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.
Frank Mugisha: +1 646 436 1858
Val Kalende: +1 857-247-1184
Pepe Julian: +256 772 370 674