Hundreds Gather in NY to Remember Slain Ugandan Activist David Kato

 

The following comes from HRC Greater New York Steering Committee Diversity Co-Chair Pete Webb:

I represented the Human Rights Campaign yesterday at the New York City Memorial Service to honor the Ugandan LGBT Activist, David Kato.  Kato was the advocacy officer of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).  Only a few short months after his picture was published in a national magazine outing LGBT Ugandans under the headline “hang them,” someone broke into Kato’s house on January 26, 2011 and beat him to death with a hammer.  Right-wing U.S. extremists have fueld a climate of hatred in Uganda.  Click here to learn more and send a message to the most outspoken extremists whose words may have led to Kato’s death.  

A moving memorial service, alive with soul and spirit, was held for Kato in the historic setting of Abyssinian Baptist Church.  Over 225 people attended to mourn David’s murder and show their solidarity with LGBT Ugandans.  Various dignitaries participated in the service including a UN Senior Adviser to the High Commissioner, New York City Councilmember, and clergy from various faith communities. Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of SMUG, also shared his testimony and friendship with David Kato.

The Rev. Joseph Tolton, who was the lead organizer of the vigil, talked about racism, homophobia, hatred and bigotry within society and the church. He passionately extolled everyone to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your god.” He challenged the church to welcome all of god’s children including the LGBT community. The Rev. Calvin Butts of Abyssinian Baptist Church continued this theme declaring that we must open our hearts and minds to erase hate and affirm human dignity.

It is my hope and prayer that David Kato’s legacy will birth a movement of understanding; empowerment and liberation.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  David Taffet

White House reaction to the murder of Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato

LGBT rights are not special rights; they are human rights. My Administration will continue to strongly support human rights and assistance work on behalf of LGBT persons abroad. We do this because we recognize the threat faced by leaders like David Kato, and we share their commitment to advancing freedom, fairness, and equality for all.

– President Obama, reacting to news of the murder of Ugandan activist David Kato

Earlier today, Alvin blogged about this horrific development in Uganda, which is an example state-sanctioned homophobia (Did Scott Lively’s homophobic ‘nuclear bomb’ cause a death in Uganda?)

Photobucket Last week, anti-gay activist Scott Lively whined in a local Boston newspaper that he is being unfairly criticized for his stances against the lgbt community, including playing a huge role in the creation of the infamous “kill the gays” bill in Uganda.

After an incident in Uganda yesterday, he may want to keep his mouth shut:

An outspoken Ugandan gay activist whose picture recently appeared in an anti-gay newspaper under the headline “Hang Them” was beaten to death in his home, Ugandan police said on Thursday.

David Kato, the activist, was one of the most visible defenders of gay rights in a country so homophobic that government leaders have proposed to execute gay people. Mr. Kato and other gay people in Uganda had recently warned that their lives were endangered, and four months ago a local paper called Rolling Stone published a list of gay people, and Mr. Kato’s face was on the front page.

This level of violence has not gone unnoticed by the Obama administration — and the President himself.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

____________________________________________

For Immediate Release January 27, 2011

Statement by the President on the Killing of David Kato

I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of David Kato. In Uganda, David showed tremendous courage in speaking out against hate. He was a powerful advocate for fairness and freedom. The United States mourns his murder, and we recommit ourselves to David’s work.

At home and around the world, LGBT persons continue to be subjected to unconscionable bullying, discrimination, and hate. In the weeks preceding David Kato’s murder in Uganda, five members of the LGBT community in Honduras were also murdered. It is essential that the Governments of Uganda and Honduras investigate these killings and hold the perpetrators accountable.

LGBT rights are not special rights; they are human rights. My Administration will continue to strongly support human rights and assistance work on behalf of LGBT persons abroad. We do this because we recognize the threat faced by leaders like David Kato, and we share their commitment to advancing freedom, fairness, and equality for all.

And Rep. Tammy Baldwin released a statement:


Statement of Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin on the Murder of Ugandan LGBT Advocate David Kato



January 27, 201

“I am deeply saddened and greatly angered by the brutal murder of Ugandan LGBT advocate David Kato.  I extend my condolences to David’s family, friends, and brave colleagues at Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and pledge that their work, for which David gave his life, will not be in vain.  I stand with them in the quest for LGBT equality in Uganda and around the world.”

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Ugandan Gay Activist Murdered

DavidKatox390 (Screengrab) | Advocate.comDavid Kato, a prominent gay activist threatened with death on the front page of a Uganda newspaper, was brutally murdered at his home in Kampala.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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Activist Outed on Cover of Ugandan Tabloid is Beaten to Death

Uganda

David Kato, a Human Rights Activist, who according to Human Rights Watch "had dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender persons (LGBT) in Uganda" was beaten to death in his home yesterday.

Human Rights Watch explains: Kato

Witnesses told police that a man entered Kato's home in Mukono at around 1 p.m. on January 26, 2011, hit him twice in the head and departed in a vehicle. Kato died on his way to Kawolo hospital. Police told Kato's lawyer that they had the registration number of the vehicle and were looking for it.

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.

You may recall that back in October, the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone published a list of '100 Top Homos' with the directions to "hang them" written on the cover.

Kato's face appeared on the cover, and inside, and was named by the tabloid.

Said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch: "David Kato's death is a tragic loss to the human rights community. David had faced the increased threats to Ugandan LGBT people bravely and will be sorely missed."

In related news, in yesterday's round-up I posted the story of Brenda Namigadde, a lesbian Ugandan in the UK who is being threatened with deportation despite the hideous situation in Uganda. David Bahati, the author of the "kill the gays" bill, has taken an interest in her 'redemption'. Please sign a petition for her safety here.


Towleroad News #gay

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Ugandan gay activist David Kato found murdered at his home in Kampala

Very disturbing. Jim Burroway has the details at Box Turtle Bulletin:

We have learned that Ugandan LGBT advocate David Kato Kisulle was murdered today at his home in Kampala. Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has confirmed that the David’s body was identified at a hospital.

Update: I have also confirmed this with SMUG’s Pepe Julian Onziema, who identified David’s body in the hospital morgue. Police are investigating. We really don’t know anything more at this point.

The details surrounding his murder are unknown at this time. He was reportedly beaten in the skull with a hammer at his home. We do not yet know whether it was a single assailant or a group of people, nor do we know any other circumstances surrounding his death.

David Kato was a spokesperson for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and one of the plaintiffs (or applicants) in the successful lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction against the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone (no relation to the U.S. publication of the same name). Kato was one of three applicants who had been named by the tabloid under a headline tagged “Hang Them!”




AMERICAblog Gay

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Ugandan Opposition Leader Kizza Besigye Says He Would Decriminalize Homosexuality

Kizza Besigye, who is challenging Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni for the third time in a February 18 election, says he would decriminalize homosexuality if elected.

Besigye Said Besigye: "This is something that is done in the privacy of people's rooms, between consenting adults."

AFP reports:

Besigye (sic), who noted he was speaking individually and not on behalf of the four-party opposition grouping he leads, said the so-called homosexuality issue has "generated far too much excitement" among current government leaders.

Resources the police devote to investigating homosexuality "could be better spent elsewhere," he added, during the recording of a town-hall style dialogue to be aired later on Ugandan television.

He argued his personal moral views about sexuality were not relevant.

"We are talking about the law," he said, explaining the current provisions banning homosexuality are superfluous, particularly since it has never been prosecuted.

(via lgbt asylum news)


Towleroad News #gay

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Ugandan Newspaper Publishes Second Round of ‘Gay List’

Uganda

Early in October, the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone published a cover story outing "100 Top Homos" and called for their hanging. The story, which made headlines internationally, inspired documented attacks on many of those named in the article and sent many others into hiding.

Uganda Now, it has happened again, AFP reports:

A Ugandan anti-gay newspaper on Monday published pictures of 14 men it identified as gay, in a country where homosexuality is illegal and has even prompted calls for the death sentence.

The lead article in The Rolling Stone newspaper, which has no relation to the US magazine, entitled "Men of shame part II," pictured 14 men identified as the "generals" of the gay movement in Uganda.

"They published their pictures on a gay networking website, so that was enough evidence for us," editor Giles Muhame said, adding that the paper did not try to contact the men before publishing their pictures.

The newspaper, which lost its license last month but published the news issue in defiance of the ban, told AFP that the alleged gays it named have been involved in "brainwashing" youth into homosexuality, but its editor said it had no evidence to back that up.

CNN spoke to Giles Muhames, the editor of the Rolling Stone tabloid, who says homosexuality is a "virus", and Stosh Mugisha, a lesbian who is now in hiding after being outed by the article.

Watch it, HERE

LGBT Asylum News reports

"Ugandan activist Jacqueline Kasha reports that alongside Rolling Stone and Red Pepper another Kampala newspaper 'Onion' has now joined in with the 'outing' campaign. Kasha and fellow activists David Kato and Patience Onziema have launched an action in Uganda's High Court this morning suing Rolling Stone for incitement to violence. American activists citing the role of US evangelicals in the anti-gay witch hunt underway in Uganda are calling on the US State Department to immediately offer visas to those 'outed' and under threat."

Just last week, David Bahati, the sponsor of Uganda's "kill the gays" bill, said he felt assured it would pass soon. He expressed that again to CNN.


Towleroad News #gay

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