UGANDA: LGBT activist David Kato murdered

16 February 2011
UGANDA: LGBT activist David Kato murdered
by Andrea Siemens

In 2007, members of CPT's Great Lakes team met with David Kato and two of his colleagues at Sexual Minorities Uganda.  His murder on 26 January 2011 is a significant loss to the LGBT community in East Africa.  Kato was an outspoken activist and faced numerous threats to his life, the most recent after he successfully sued a Kampala newspaper for publishing his (and others’) photos with a message that they should be hanged.  His funeral took place on 28 January.  An obituary is available here. 

 Messages of support and solidarity for SMUG can be sent to  CPT has maintained contact with SMUG since the team's earlier visit. 

 A Human Rights Watch release about the murder notes, "Kato was the advocacy officer for the organization Sexual Minorities Uganda. He had been a leading voice in the fight against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which has been before Uganda's parliament since October 15, 2009.  While homosexual sex is already illegal in Uganda, the proposed law would criminalize all homosexuality, making it punishable by a fine and life imprisonment.  â€˜Repeat offenders’ and those who are HIV positive would be subject to the death penalty. The bill would also oblige anyone with knowledge of someone who is or might be a homosexual to report that person to the police within twenty-four hours."

 The police deny his murder has any relation to his sexual orientation or activism.

 Please take the time to write to the authorities below (particularly the Inspector General of Police) urging a full and impartial investigation into his death and demanding that his queer friends and colleagues be given the protection they deserve as many of them continue to receive death threats. In your letter, feel free to also address your concerns regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. 

General of Police 
Major General Kale Kayihura

Uganda Police Force, 
 Nsambya Police Headquarters

PO BOX 7055, 

Fax: + 256 414 342 985 
Salutation: Dear Major General

 Minister of Internal Affairs Hon. Ali Kirunda Kivejinja

Ministry of Internal Affairs 
PO Box 7191, 

Fax: + 256 414 343 088
 Salutation: Dear Minister

 â€¨Ambassade de la République de l'Ouganda; 

Rue Antoine Carteret 6bis; 
1202 Genève.

Fax: 022 340 70 30

Also, in Canada:

Uganda High Commission in Canada
231 Cobourg Street

Ottawa, Ontario
 K1N 8J2

Tel: 613.789.7797
Fax: 613.789.8909

and in the USA

 His Excellency Professor
Perezi K. Kamunanwire

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary