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Friday, 28 January 2011

LGBTI Kenyans react to murder of Ugandan activist David Kato

Source: GALCK

The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya is shocked and outraged at the news of the murder of David Kato, SMUG’s Advocacy and Litigation Officer. We join our Ugandan brothers and sisters in mourning this truly tragic attack on our community.

David had been an outspoken human rights defender who never shied from engaging the Ugandan society on the need of having all Ugandans including LGBTI Ugandans be treated as equal citizens under the law. This dastardly attack and murder of a LGBTI Human Rights defender is an attack on all of us and we support SMUG’s call for prompt and thorough investigations by the relevant authorities.

For those who do not believe that hate speech kills well here is the proof. Over the past few years, hate speech and action have been blowing into our region mainly led by American evangelical pastors. Together with hate filled pastors in the region a slow, poisonous and murderous environment has been created specifically targeting the regions LGBTI communities. We at GALCK denounce this movement and request all right minded people to condemn it and to work diligently to remove it from our midst.


David was and will continue to be seen as our leader in the fight against attacks on LGBTI communities and for the demand for equal treatment of LGBTI citizens of Uganda. Many of us worked with David and Kenya often hosted Ugandan activists who had to leave the country when the attacks became overwhelming. As SMUGS Advocacy and litigation Officer, David was not shy of being the face of the community in the public domain. If his killers believe that this dastardly act will intimidate us they are VERY WRONG!! If anything this very act will have us redouble our energies in the fight for the rights that are due to us as fellow human beings.

GALCK sends its prayers and condolences to David’s family, friends and to the Ugandan LGBTI community at large. GALCK also stands in solidarity with SMUG and we will join you in whatever action you feel necessary to ensure that this dastardly act is truly investigated and the perpetrator(s) are brought to justice. We also support your 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.

As East Africans we must honor David’s death by redoubling our efforts of demanding equal rights and justice for all East Africans including those of us who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex.

May David rest in peace!

GALCK

Gay Kenya said:
He is very well known here in Kenya, having participated in our LGBTI rights activism milestones of World Social Forum in 2007, and at the GALCK centre where he together with other activists, sought refuge from persecution by the Ugandan Government in 2008.

We call upon the religious leaders particularly Conservative evangelical American Church, on whose doorsteps lies so much suffering of the LGBT people in East Africa, to immediately and without delay condemn and disassociate themselves from any form of violence against LGBT people – They surely must understand that in Africa their message is taken literally and they remain the sole spiritual sponsors of these murderers.
Persons Marginalized and Aggrieved (PEMA) said:
He was a phenomenal man whose various successes are widely known, and his wealth of knowledge and experience in advocating for LGBTIQ rights is unchallenged. We the LGBTIQ community have been robbed of a truly selfless man, who worked tirelessly as a champion for our rights not only in Uganda but all over the world as well.
Ishtar, MSM health and well-being said:
David Kato was our friend, mentor, critic and colleague. He was instrumental in the LGBTI rights movement both in Uganda and the whole of the East African region. His demise is a huge loss to the movement. His dedication to the liberation of LGBTI persons in Uganda shall not be in vain. He was a mentor and will remain one to many activists. We join our fellow Ugandan activists during this trying time.
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