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LGBT Activist Murdered in Uganda: Take Action!

Activist murdered in Uganda

Ugandan LGBTI activist David Kato was savagely beaten in his home with a hammer and died on the way to the hospital. Human Rights First's allies in the LGBTI community in Uganda have no doubt that his murder is a hate crime.

The police, however, hastily concluded that this was a "robbery."

David Kato was revered by colleagues, who dubbed him the "father" of Uganda's gay rights movement. But his civil-rights struggle earned him many enemies. Kato was the most prominent of the 100 gay Ugandans featured recently in a local paper with the headline "Hang Them" over their photos.

At Kato's own funeral, the presiding pastor made homophobic remarks.

Help us ensure Kato's murder is fully investigated—and put a stop to the campaign of hate that has led to such horrific consequences.

We are urging Ugandan President Museveni to take action now. Join us by signing our letter below!

President Museveni,

I urge you to respond immediately to the recent slaying of the prominent human rights leader David Kato, who fought tirelessly for the rights of all Ugandans and was murdered last week in what appears to be a bias-motivated attack. David Kato’s friends, family, and colleagues believe this attack was not a robbery, as the police hastily concluded, but a targeted killing motivated by his sexual orientation and his advocacy to advance the rights of lesbian and gay Ugandans.

Nobody should be killed for their sexual orientation or for their human rights advocacy.

This murder comes against the backdrop of profoundly anti-gay rhetoric across Uganda, spurred by the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. The bill itself calls for the death penalty for certain same-sex consensual acts.

I’m writing to ask that you speak out against this hateful murder, that you make sure it is fully investigated, and that you work with Members of Parliament to guarantee the Anti-Homosexuality Bill does not resurface, as reports indicate it might.

Just last week, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to the Human Rights Council, noting that while “sexual orientation and gender identity raise sensitive cultural issues […] cultural practice can not justify any violation of human rights.” I ask you to take several steps to show your commitment to the rule of law and human rights of all Ugandans.

- Issue a public condemnation of David Kato’s murder.
- Instruct the Inspector General of Police, Edward Kale Kayihura, to conduct and personally oversee a full investigation into the murder – including possible bias motivations—so that the perpetrators are apprehended and punished to the full extent of the law;
- Seek out international assistance in the investigation and prosecution to demonstrate your commitment to an impartial and transparent investigation;
- Make clear to your fellow Ugandans that any violent acts or rhetoric that incites violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals residing in the country will be met with the full force of the law.
- Work with Members of the Parliament of Uganda to eliminate any possibility of consideration or passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Thank you.
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