David Kato, prominent gay and human rights activist murdered in Uganda

On 26 January, the prominent human rights activist David Kato was murdered in his home in Kampala, Uganda. David was known both internationally and in Uganda for campaigning against the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill that has been before the Ugandan parliament since October 2009.

While homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, this new law proposes to criminalise all homosexuality, making it punishable by a fine and life imprisonment. HIV-positive people, and people convicted a second time would be subject to the death penalty. The proposed bill also states that anyone knowing someone who is a gay man or lesbian would be mandated to report them to the police within 24 hours, or face imprisonment themselves.

David was one of three activists who sued the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone, not connected to the US magazine, after it published pictures and contact details of 100 gay men and women including David under the headline “Hang Them.”

David was a speaker at the International AIDS Conference held in Vienna last year. His courage at confronting bigotry and homophobia was immense.

A vigil was held at the Ugandan Consulate in Trafalgar Square, London at 11 am on Friday 28th January.

We send our deepest sympathy and condolences to Davids family and friends.

Sources and links:

Human Rights Watch

Justice for Gay Africans Society

AIDS 2010 Vienna programme

Uganda law proposes death penalty for homosexuality: can international reaction and vulnerability of treatment access programmes help? HIV Treatment Bulletin, June 2010

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.