IFSW expresses grave concern over the shocking murder of David Kato, a prominent gay activist and human rights defender in Uganda and urges the Government of Uganda to conduct a thorough investigation into his death, as well as to ensure adequate security for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens and that prompt action against all threats or hate speech likely to incite violence, discrimination, or hostility toward them are taken.
Mr Kato was a leading voice against Uganda ’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill as the advocacy officer for the organization Sexual Minorities Uganda. Homosexuality is considered illegal under Uganda ’s existing laws. The United Nations and many development partners have called on the Ugandan Parliament to drop the bill and to decriminalize homosexuality.
Mr Kato’s death comes days after the High Court of Uganda ruled that Uganda ’s constitution protects the right to dignity and privacy for all Ugandans regardless of their sexual orientation. Specifically, the court ruled that inciting violence against people based on their sexual orientation threatens their right to human dignity.
This ruling came from a case against a local publication that had published a photograph of Mr Kato and others, urging citizens ‘to hang them because of their sexual orientation’. IFSW denounces homophobia and actions that incite violence against individuals and communities. IFSW is deeply worried that the Ugandan government has been so conspicuously silent about discriminatory rhetoric against LGBT people in Uganda.
IFSW calls for the decriminalisation of homosexuality where such legislation remains. This entails reviewing all legislation which could result in the discrimination, prosecution and punishment of people solely for their sexual orientation or gender identity.