Congressman Payne Joins LGBT Caucus to Honor the Life of Ugandan Human Rights Activist David Kato

Donald Payne (D) New Jersey

Congressman Donald Payne

Tenth District – New Jersey

For Immediate Release: February 12, 2011
Contact: Algene Sajery or Natalie Chwalisz (202) 226-7812

Congressman Payne Joins LGBT Caucus to Honor the Life of Ugandan Human Rights Activist David Kato

Calls on the Government of Uganda to Protect the Basic Human Rights of All its Citizens

Washington, DC –Yesterday, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, and Congressman Barney Frank, Jared Polis, David Cicilline, together with Congressman Donald Payne, sponsored a briefing to highlight violence against sexual minorities in Uganda and honor the life of human rights activist and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) Advocacy Officer, David Kato, who was brutally murdered in his home last month.

Congressman Donald M. Payne, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights released the following statement:
“My condolences go out to the friends and family of David Kato, whose courage and devotion in the face of adversity will forever be respected by defenders of human rights around the world. David dedicated his life to advocating for the universal human rights of Uganda’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.   Through dedicated and brave public service, he worked to improve the lives of minority populations in Uganda and was an inspiration to human rights defenders around the world”.

“David’s work was just beginning to bear fruit when he was tragically taken from us.  In October 2010 due to the steadfast advocacy of David and other courageous Ugandan activists, the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) determined that Uganda’s draft “anti-homosexuality bill” violates international human rights standards and the Ugandan Constitution.  On January 3, Uganda’s High Court determined that the publication of names and photographs of individuals suspected to be gay or lesbian by local media violates Ugandan’s constitutional right to privacy and human dignity”.

Now Ugandan authorities must work to ensure that David’s death was not in vein. I call on Ugandan authorities to actively investigate David’s murder and to take immediate steps to protect its citizens from future discriminatory acts and campaigns rooted in misperception, fear and ignorance. Ugandan authorities should speak out against hate speech that contributes to discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of Uganda’s LGBT community and other minorities.
“During my many years of travel across the African continent, I have met hundreds of human and civil rights activists like David Kato.  Impressed by their courage and strength, I am always sure to let them know that America stands with them and that they should never give up on their commitment to justice and equality for all.  We all share a responsibility to denounce violence against individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity wherever it may occur.  We must respect the basic human rights of all people.”
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