Thursday, 27 January 2011

Murdered: the Ugandan gay rights activist targeted by a newspaper

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David Kato
David Kato, a leading Ugandan gay rights campaigner, has been beaten to death in his home in the country's capital Kampala, according to fellow activists from the campaign group Sexual Minorities Uganda. The police have confirmed that he was found dead, and are investigating the circumstances of his death.

Kato was one of the men targeted in a front page story in the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone last October. Under the headline "Hang them: 100 Pictures of Uganda's Top Homos Leak", the paper published the names and addresses of 100 people, apparently urging readers to attack and kill them. At the time it was reported that at least four people were attacked and several more forced into hiding.

It's a truly horrific story, and a reminder of what those campaigning for gay rights in Uganda (who include many humanists) are up against. We can only hope that this strengthens their resolve, and a press release from Sexual Minorities Uganda suggests that this will be the case. Speaking about Kato's death, their executive director Frank Mugisha said:
"No form of intimidation will stop our cause. The death of David will only be honored when the struggle for justice and equality is won. David is gone and many of us will follow, but the struggle will be won Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and the entire Ugandan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Community stands together to condemn the killing of David Kato and call for the Ugandan Government, Civil Society, and Local Communities to protect sexual minorities across Uganda."
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