FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | January 27, 2011
NCLR Condemns the Murder of Ugandan LGBT Activist, David Kato
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell
(San Francisco, CA, January 27, 2011)—Yesterday, David Kato, an outspoken advocate of LGBT rights in Uganda, was beaten to death in his home. David was an advocacy officer for the LGBT rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda and was an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community in Uganda.
The environment for LGBT people in Uganda has become increasingly hostile in recent years. Existing Ugandan law allows for the arrest and imprisonment of up to 14 years for people known to be LGBT, and members of the community face ongoing harassment. Another controversial bill, introduced in 2009, would permit the death penalty for LGBT people who were previously convicted, are HIV-positive or who were caught performing sex acts with a person of the same gender. The bill prompted international condemnation and has not come up for a vote.
In October, the Ugandan tabloid, Rolling Stone, published photos of 100 allegedly LGBT Ugandans, including David Kato, with the slogan "Hang Them." While Ugandan authorities are claiming the murder was robbery-related, LGBT activists in Uganda and elsewhere have deemed it a hate-crime encouraged by the continued persecution of LGBT people in the country.
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:
"I was devastated to learn about the brutal murder of David Kato in Uganda. My heart goes out to his family and the entire LGBT community in that country. His murder is an appalling demonstration of the fear-mongering, intimidation, and violence that many members of the LGBT community face each day. Despite increasing safety concerns and threats to his life, David displayed incredible courage by continuing to fight for equal rights in his home country of Uganda. His death is a tragic reminder of the uphill battle members of the LGBT community face globally. Let his death drive us to work even harder for justice and equality, not just for Americans, but for all LGBT people facing discrimination."
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.