Archive for January, 2011

White House Issues Statement on the Murder of Ugandan Activist David Kato

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.

U.S. State Department Issues Statement on David Kato’s Murder

Murder of Ugandan LGBT Activist David Kato

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
January 27, 2011

We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato, who was brutally murdered in his home near Kampala yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues. We urge Ugandan authorities to quickly and thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible for this heinous act.

David Kato tirelessly devoted himself to improving the lives of others. As an advocate for the group Sexual Minorities Uganda, he worked to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. His efforts resulted in groundbreaking recognition for Uganda’s LGBT community, including the Uganda Human Rights Commission’s October 2010 statement on the unconstitutionality of Uganda’s draft “anti-homosexuality bill” and the Ugandan High Court’s January 3 ruling safeguarding all Ugandans’ right to privacy and the preservation of human dignity. His tragic death underscores how critical it is that both the government and the people of Uganda, along with the international community, speak out against the discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of Uganda’s LGBT community, and work together to ensure that all individuals are accorded the same rights and dignity to which each and every person is entitled.

Everywhere I travel on behalf of our country, I make it a point to meet with young people and activists — people like David — who are trying to build a better, stronger future for their societies. I let them know that America stands with them, and that their ideas and commitment are indispensible to achieving the progress we all seek.

This crime is a reminder of the heroic generosity of the people who advocate for and defend human rights on behalf of the rest of us — and the sacrifices they make. And as we reflect on his life, it is also an occasion to reaffirm that human rights apply to everyone, no exceptions, and that the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons.

Our ambassadors and diplomats around the world will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights policy, and to stand with those who, with their courage, make the world a more just place where every person can live up to his or her God-given potential. We honor David’s legacy by continuing the important work to which he devoted his life.

CNN Reports on David Kato’s Murder

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) releases press statement

Brutal Murder of Gay Ugandan Human Rights Defender, David Kato

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.

David was brutally beaten to death in his home today, 26 January 2011, around 2pm.  Across the entire country, straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Ugandans mourn the loss of David, a dear friend, colleague, teacher, family member, and human rights defender.

David has been receiving death threats since his face was put on the front page of Rolling Stone Magazine, which called for his death and the death of all homosexuals.  David’s death comes directly after the Supreme Court of Uganda ruled that people must stop inciting violence against homosexuals and must respect the right to privacy and human dignity.

Sexual Minorities Uganda and the Ugandan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Community call on the Police and the Government of Uganda to seriously investigate the circumstances surrounding David’s death. We also call on religious leaders, political leaders and media houses to stop demonizing sexual minorities in Uganda since doing so creates a climate of violence against gay persons.  Val Kalende, the Chair of the Board at Freedom and Roam Uganda stated that “David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S Evangelicals in 2009. The Ugandan Government and the so-called U.S Evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood!”

As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently declared, “I understand that sexual orientation and gender identity raise sensitive cultural issues.  But cultural practices cannot justify any violation of human rights. . .  . When our fellow humans are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, we must speak out. . . . States bear the primary responsibility to protect human rights advocates.  I call on all States to ensure the freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly that make their work possible.  When the lives of human rights advocates are endangered, we are all less secure.  When the voices of human rights advocates are silenced, justice itself is drowned out.”
David’s life was cut short in a brutal manner.  David will be deeply missed by his family and friends, his students, and Human Rights organizations throughout Uganda and around the world.  Speaking about what the death of David means in the struggle for equality, Frank Mugisha, the Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda 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. David wanted to see a Uganda where all people will be treated equally despite their sexual orientation.”

Burial arrangements are underway for Friday 28, 2011 at 2PM at his ancestral home in Namataba, Mukono District.

Press contacts:

Frank Mugisha: +1 646 436 1858

Val Kalende:   +1 857-247-1184

Pepe Julian: +256 772 370 674

Uganda: Promptly Investigate Killing of Prominent LGBT Activist

(c) AP, David Kato

repost from Council for Global Equality member organization, Human Rights Watch

David Kato Was Fearless Voice for Human Rights

January 27, 2011

(Kampala) -­ Police in Uganda should urgently and impartially investigate the killing of the prominent human rights activist David Kato, Human Rights Watch said today. Kato had dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender persons (LGBT) in Uganda, facing threats and risks to his personal safety.

The government should ensure that members of Uganda’s LGBT community have adequate protection from violence and take prompt action against all threats or hate speech likely to incite violence, discrimination, or hostility toward them, Human Rights Watch said.

“David Kato’s death is a tragic loss to the human rights community,” said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “David had faced the increased threats to Ugandan LGBT people bravely and will be sorely missed.” Continue reading the statement

read more about this tragic story at Box Turtle Bulletin

Ban Ki-moon statement calling for an end to human rights violations

Ban Kai-moon, United NationsDuring a special sitting at the United Nations on January 25, 2010, Ban Ki-moon delivered a powerful statement calling for an end to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Read the statement below:

“We must reject persecution of people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity … who may be arrested, detained or executed for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

They may not have popular or political support, but they deserve our support in safeguarding their fundamental human rights. I understand that sexual orientation and gender identity raise sensitive cultural issues. But cultural practice can not justify any violation of human rights.

Women’s treatment as second-class citizens has been justified, at times, as a “cultural practice.” So has institutional racism and other forms of inhuman punishment.

But that is merely an excuse. When our fellow humans are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, we must speak out.

That is what I am doing here, that is my consistent position.

Human rights are human rights everywhere, for everyone.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

The General Assembly founded this Council to promote universal respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction, in a fair and equal manner.

The Assembly charged you, the members of this Council, with upholding the highest standards of human rights.

Now you must act in a fair and equal manner, and uphold the highest human right standards, in your own countries and around the world.

Thank you.”

Frank Mugisha and Cary Alan Johnson on LGBT Issues in Africa

Cary Johnson and Frank Mugisha

Listen to International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) Executive Director, Cary Alan Johnson and Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) discuss with WHYY Radio the state of sexual orientation and gender identity in Uganda and greater Africa. Listen to the interview here

IACHR Deeply Concerned About Murders of Members of the Transgender Community In Honduras

Press Release | The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

Washington, D.C., January 20, 2011 – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is deeply concerned about serious threats, acts of violence and murders against members of the transgender community in Honduras.

The Commission has received information about threats and actions against the integrity and life of several members of that community.  In the last two months, seven transgender persons have allegedly died in circumstances that have not been fully investigated: Idania Roberta Sevilla Raudales (November 29, 2010); Luisa Alex Alvarado (December 18, 2010); Oscar Martínez Salgado; (December 20, 2010); Reana Bustamante (December 29, 2010) ; the youth Cheo (not identified; January 2, 2011); Génesis Briget Makaligton (January 7, 2011); and Fergie Alice Ferg (or Williams Afif Hernández, January 18, 2011).

In its report Honduras: Human Rights and Coup d’État, the Commission found that discrimination against members of the community of lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons (LGBTI) has increased.  On January 29, 2010 the Commission adopted precautionary measures in favor of several members of that community and of the organization Catrachas, due to threats and attacks against them.  The recent murders bring the number of reported violent deaths to 34 members of the LGBTI community since June 2009 and, in particular, of leaders Neraldys Perdomo and Imperia Gamaniel Parson, of the Organization Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa, and Walter Trochez.

The IACHR calls upon the State of Honduras to prevent acts of discrimination and violence against members of the LGBTI community, and to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible and redress promptly and diligently the violations.

Impunity constitutes non-compliance with the State’s duties, it is harmful to the victim, his or her next of kin and society as a whole, it fosters recidivism of human rights violations, and it creates total defenselessness of victims and their relatives. Therefore, the State carries the international obligation to prevent human rights violations; should they occur, the State has an obligation to investigate them and prosecute and punish those responsible.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

Read the Statement from the United States Embassy in Honduras

Read UNAIDS Statement on the Killings in Honduras

Take Action – Join IGLHRC and the Honduran LGBTI organization Red Cattrachas in calling for immediate investigations and demanding state action to prevent future killings on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Advocate runs story about Hillary Clinton and the State Department

Kerry Eleveld of the Advocate published her story on Hillary Clinton and her team at the State Department in today’s online issue of the Advocate titled “Madam Secretary”. In the piece, many State Department officials are interviewed as well as Council Chair, Mark Bromley of The Council for Global Equality.

Read the full article here.

Ugandan Media barred from outing LGBT people

The Ugandan High Court issued a ruling yesterday barring media outlets from publishing the identities of perceived LGBT people. The decision is being called a “landmark” ruling by sexual orientation and gender identity activists. The court case stemmed from an October 2, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone newspaper (no affiliation to the US publication) in Uganda which carried the headline “100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak” which included the words “Hang them!” The paper included names and in some cases the address of the alleged LGBT people.

In a press release by The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law in Uganda, they stated that the court issued a permanent injunction preventing The Rolling Stone and their managing editor, Mr. Giles Muhame, from ‘any further publications of the identities of the persons and homes of the applicants and homosexuals generally.’

“While this injunction is a positive step for gay people in Uganda, the fact remains that the government of Uganda has for long been mute about the discrimination, threats and violence faced by LGBTI people in Uganda,” said Kasha Jacqueline, one of the applicants and also Director of Freedom & Roam Uganda.

Read the complete ruling here

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