AJWS Mourns the Loss of Ugandan LGBTI Activist,
David Kato

 

AJWS Mourns the Loss of Ugandan LGBTI Activist,
David Kato

January 27, 2011

AJWS is deeply saddened and outraged by the brutal murder of David Kato, a Ugandan LGBTI activist. Kato was one of the most visible and vocal defenders of human rights for LGBTI Ugandans and served as the advocacy officer for the organization Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). He partnered closely with AJWS’s Ugandan grantees to voice opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill—a piece of proposed legislation that would strengthen existing penalties against homosexuality and make same-sex relations in Uganda punishable by prison. Among the bill’s many dangerous provisions, a person who fails to report within 24 hours the identity of anyone perceived to be LGBTI or who supports the human rights of LGBTI people, would be subject to up to three years’ imprisonment.

Since the bill was first introduced on October 15, 2009, AJWS has been working to ensure that our partners in Uganda can strategically and effectively advance human rights in the face of growing insecurity and violence. Ongoing efforts to quash the bill have pushed Ugandan LGBTI activists into the public fore. There has been heightened concern for their safety and privacy ever since a Ugandan tabloid called Rolling Stone published pictures, names and residence locations of some LGBTI activists—including Kato—with a headline that read, “Hang Them.” Kato was one of the plaintiffs in the successful lawsuit against the publication, in which the judge ruled that Rolling Stone had violated their constitutional rights to privacy and human dignity

AJWS has been in touch with its Ugandan partners and is offering them support for heightened security and emergency response needs.

Kato’s death is a devastating loss to the human rights community worldwide, and a painful reminder of how much work needs to be done.

More information about Kato’s death:
Ugandan Gay Rights Activist is Beaten to Death,” The New York Times
Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Bludgeoned to Death,” CNN.com
Ugandan Gay Activist Slain after Photo Published,” NPR.org