News / Africa

Rights Groups Demand Impartial Probe Into Ugandan Activist's Death

David Kato, an advocacy officer for the gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda, was found with serious wounds to his head at his home in Uganda's capital Kampala (file photo)
David Kato, an advocacy officer for the gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda, was found with serious wounds to his head at his home in Uganda's capital Kampala (file photo)
Michael Onyiego

As Ugandan police begin their investigation, the death of prominent Ugandan rights activist David Kato is being roundly condemned by rights groups worldwide. Kato, 43, was found dead inside of his Kampala home Wednesday, the victim of an apparent blow to the head.

Amnesty International Uganda Researcher Godfrey Odongo called on police to conduct thorough investigations immediately.

“Amnesty International is appalled and shocked by the death of this leading, prominent human rights activist who has worked on issues of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender rights for a long time,” Odongo said. “We, along with other organizations, call upon the Ugandan government to ensure an impartial and credible investigation into the murder.”

While rights groups and fellow activists suspect homophobia to have played a role in the attack, government officials believe it was not an issue in Kato’s death.

Police told reporters Thursday, Kato’s murder was most likely the result of a robbery, citing missing items in Kato’s home and statements from neighbors who witnessed the suspects exiting the house.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, however, has urged police not to rule homophobia, or any motive out of the investigation. Ugandan Police have arrested one man in connection with the killing and are searching for another, who had reportedly been staying with Kato.

Homophobia, though present in much of sub-Saharan Africa, is a particularly prominent issue in Uganda. Homosexuals in Uganda frequently face physical intimidation and death threats when their sexual orientation is made public.

Recently, tabloids such as the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone have taken to publishing photos as well as the personal information, including addresses and phone numbers, of homosexuals in Uganda. The publication also encourages readers to harm those in its pages, printing such slogans as “hang them” next to the pictures.

Kato was recently the target of such a campaign by Rolling Stone. The activist successfully took the tabloid to court, winning an injunction against the publication of activists’ names, pictures and personal information.

The Ugandan parliament is also still considering the infamous “anti-homosexuality bill” which, until last year included the death-penalty for homosexual acts committed by HIV-positive individuals.

Amnesty’s Odongo says the Ugandan government must do more in the fight against homophobia.

“The Ugandan government must unequivocally come out to state that discrimination on whatever grounds, including sexual orientation grounds, is not permitted,” Odongo added. “The government must move with speed and haste to make it clear publically that the actions and activities of sections of the media such as Rolling Stone is not acceptable.”

David Kato was the leader of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a group dedicated to securing rights and government protection for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Ugandans. U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement after Kato’s death praising his work and promising increased support of rights activists worldwide.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs