Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement on death of David Kato; Updated with President Obama’s statement

The President also made a statement which follows Mrs. Clinton’s statement.

Her statement has been placed on the State Department website and is reproduced here.

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
January 27, 2011

We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato, who was brutally murdered in his home near Kampala yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues. We urge Ugandan authorities to quickly and thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible for this heinous act.

David Kato tirelessly devoted himself to improving the lives of others. As an advocate for the group Sexual Minorities Uganda, he worked to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. His efforts resulted in groundbreaking recognition for Uganda’s LGBT community, including the Uganda Human Rights Commission’s October 2010 statement on the unconstitutionality of Uganda’s draft “anti-homosexuality bill” and the Ugandan High Court’s January 3 ruling safeguarding all Ugandans’ right to privacy and the preservation of human dignity. His tragic death underscores how critical it is that both the government and the people of Uganda, along with the international community, speak out against the discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of Uganda’s LGBT community, and work together to ensure that all individuals are accorded the same rights and dignity to which each and every person is entitled.

Everywhere I travel on behalf of our country, I make it a point to meet with young people and activists — people like David — who are trying to build a better, stronger future for their societies. I let them know that America stands with them, and that their ideas and commitment are indispensible to achieving the progress we all seek.

This crime is a reminder of the heroic generosity of the people who advocate for and defend human rights on behalf of the rest of us — and the sacrifices they make. And as we reflect on his life, it is also an occasion to reaffirm that human rights apply to everyone, no exceptions, and that the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons.

Our ambassadors and diplomats around the world will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights policy, and to stand with those who, with their courage, make the world a more just place where every person can live up to his or her God-given potential. We honor David’s legacy by continuing the important work to which he devoted his life.

President Obama’s statement:

Statement by the President on the Killing of David Kato

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
January 27, 2011

LGBT rights are not special rights; they are human rights.  My Administration will continue to strongly support human rights and assistance work on behalf of LGBT persons abroad.  We do this because we recognize the threat faced by leaders like David Kato, and we share their commitment to advancing freedom, fairness, and equality for all.

At home and around the world, LGBT persons continue to be subjected to unconscionable bullying, discrimination, and hate.  In the weeks preceding David Kato’s murder in Uganda, five members of the LGBT community in Honduras were also murdered.  It is essential that the Governments of Uganda and Honduras investigate these killings and hold the perpetrators accountable.

I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of David Kato.  In Uganda, David showed tremendous courage in speaking out against hate.  He was a powerful advocate for fairness and freedom.  The United States mourns his murder, and we recommit ourselves to David’s work.

Rolling Stone editor makes deadly position clear

Commenting on the tragic death of David Kato, Rolling Stone editor stated his political philosophy regarding gays and the government to the BBC.

Rolling Stone editor Giles Muhame told Reuters news agency he condemned the murder and that the paper had not wanted gays to be attacked.

“There has been a lot of crime, it may not be because he is gay,” he said.

“We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not for the public to attack them.”

Public does it, condemnation. Government does it, good public policy. What are they teaching at Makerere U? If you want to see how low the person supported by Rev. Solomon Male can go, read this sordid accusation.

I certainly hope the UK provides refuge for Brenda Namigadde.

SMUG statement on the murder of David Kato

Press Release by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Brutal Murder of Gay Ugandan Human Rights Defender, David Kato
 
Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and the entire Ugandan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Community stands together to condemn the killing of David Kato and call for the Ugandan Government, Civil Society, and Local Communities to protect sexual minorities across Uganda. 
 
David was brutally beaten to death in his home today, 26 January 2011, around 2pm.  Across the entire country, straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Ugandans mourn the loss of David, a dear friend, colleague, teacher, family member, and human rights defender.   
David has been receiving death threats since his face was put on the front page of Rolling Stone Magazine, which called for his death and the death of all homosexuals.  David’s death comes directly after the Supreme Court of Uganda ruled that people must stop inciting violence against homosexuals and must respect the right to privacy and human dignity.  

Sexual Minorities Uganda and the Ugandan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Community call on the Police and the Government of Uganda to seriously investigate the circumstances surrounding David’s death. We also 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.  Val Kalende, the Chair of the Board at Freedom and Roam Uganda stated that “David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S Evangelicals in 2009. The Ugandan Government and the so-called U.S Evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood!”

 
As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently declared, “I understand that sexual orientation and gender identity raise sensitive cultural issues.  But cultural practices cannot justify any violation of human rights. . .  . When our fellow humans are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, we must speak out. . . . States bear the primary responsibility to protect human rights advocates.  I call on all States to ensure the freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly that make their work possible.  When the lives of human rights advocates are endangered, we are all less secure.  When the voices of human rights advocates are silenced, justice itself is drowned out.” 

David’s life was cut short in a brutal manner.  David will be deeply missed by his family and friends, his students, and Human Rights organizations throughout Uganda and around the world.  Speaking about what the death of David means in the struggle for equality, Frank Mugisha, the Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda said, “No form of intimidation will stop our cause. The death of David will only be honored when the struggle for justice and equality is won.  David is gone and many of us will follow, but the struggle will be won. David wanted to see a Uganda where all people will be treated equally despite their sexual orientation.”

 
Burial arrangements are underway for Friday 28, 2011 at 2PM at his ancestral home in Namataba, Mukono District. 
 
Press contacts:

Frank Mugisha: +1 646 436 1858

 

David Kato (center) at Rolling Stone trial (Photo credit Benedicte Desrus)

SMUG: Ugandan GLBT activist David Kato has been murdered

Frank Mugisha, head of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), just reported that his colleague in SMUG, David Kato, has been murdered in Kampala. Kato was also one of the plaintiffs in the Rolling Stone defamation case in Uganda. The Rolling Stone promised to out 100 homosexuals, and had started doing so, when a Ugandan judge halted the tabloid, saying that such efforts violated the rights of the plaintiffs. You can find a link to the decision here.

Kato had expressed fear for his safety after the verdict, telling AlertNet:

David Kato, one of the plaintiffs, said that he had been living in terror ever since he was named by the newspaper.

“Since we got exposed by Rolling Stone, we have been living like fugitives in our own country,” he said. “We have to keep shifting houses for fear of being attacked. Some of the gays have decided to leave the city and head to rural areas in order to protect themselves.”

Details of this tragic death are unclear. I will provide more information as I get it.

UPDATE (8:01pm) – Human Rights Watch has more detail

“David Kato’s death is a tragic loss to the human rights community,” said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “David had faced the increased threats to Ugandan LGBT people bravely and will be sorely missed.”

Witnesses told police that a man entered Kato’s home in Mukono at around 1 p.m. on January 26, 2011, hit him twice in the head and departed in a vehicle. Kato died on his way to Kawolo hospital. Police told Kato’s lawyer that they had the registration number of the vehicle and were looking for it.

UPDATE (1:10pm, 1/27/11). The Daily Monitor has a story here.

Police’s Scene of Crime officers have ringed off the house in which a gay activist, David Kato was murdered yesterday.

Police said his attackers hit him with a hammer on the head at around noon on Wednesday before locking him in the house.

Deputy Police Spokesman Vincent Ssekate said they are taking the case seriously but asked the public to who have any information that may lead to the arrest of the suspects to contact them.

He later died as he was being transported to Mulago Hospital.

“They forced their way in and found Kato lying unconscious,” he said.

Their suspicion rose later, they told the police, and went to check on him in his house but found the door locked.

Residents told police that they saw a man who entered Kato’s house but he moved out dressed in victim’s shoes and a jacket that cover part of his face.

Asked whether they were taking it as an attack on minorities in the country, he said it is too early to reach that conclusion.

Kato was listed among the 100 people suspected to be homosexuals in the country by the local tabloid Rolling Stone.

“Since the act happened during day, there may be people who say the suspects entering the house. They should come and give us information,” he said.

Deputy Police Spokesman Vincent Ssekate said they are taking the case seriously but asked the public to who have any information that may lead to the arrest of the suspects to contact them.

The New York Times gives more details:

Friends said Mr. Kato had recently put an alarm system in his house and was killed by an acquaintance, someone who had been inside several times before and was seen by neighbors on Wednesday. Mr. Kato’s neighborhood on the outskirts of Kampala is known as a rough one, where several people have recently been beaten to death with iron bars.

Judith Nabakooba, a police spokeswoman, said Mr. Kato’s death did not appear to be a hate crime, though the investigation has just started. “It looks like theft, as some things were stolen,” Mrs. Nabakooba said.

But Nikki Mawanda, a friend, who was born female and lives as a man, said: “This is a clear signal. You don’t know who’s going to do it to you.”

Two pastors partially cleared in Uganda pastor wars, no word about Ssempa

Conspiracy charges were dropped yesterday against two of the pastors accused of working together to attack Ugandan pastor Robert Kayanja.

A city magistrates court yesterday dismissed charges of conspiracy against two pastors who were accused of tarnishing the image of Pastor Robert Kayanja.

Pastors Kayiira and Kyazze were charged with alleged criminal trespass and conspiracy to commit a misdemeanour, a charge they deny.

Ms Nakadama, however, ordered Pastor Kayiira to defend himself against the charge of criminal trespass.

She set February 8 for the hearing of the case against Pastor Kayiira.

Criminal trespass

“Not a single witness and not even investigating officer Ms Grace Akullo was able to prove and provide court with evidence that the two pastors agreed to tarnish the name of Pastor Kanyaja,” she said.

Mwanga II Grade One magistrate Esther Nakadama said the State failed to present witnesses to testify against pastors Robert Kayiira and Michael Kyazze of Omega Healing Ministries.

Martin Ssempa is mentioned as one of the three pastors but he is still in the hot seat apparently.

More on the story here…

David Bahati intervenes in UK asylum case

This in from Lezgetreal.com:

Brenda Namigadde left Uganda 8 years ago, in 2003. She lived together with her partner, a Canadian woman Janet, but they were threatened, and both left the country, first Janet back to Canada, then Brenda went to the UK:

“Our relationship led us to be sworn at, threatened. Even the house where we were living was hurt, so we had to live in hiding for a month. Janet had to go back to Canada, the last time I saw here was in 2003. I’ve been in the U.K. for 8 years, applied for asylum last year for human protection.”

“I’ll be tortured, or killed, if I’m sent back to Uganda. They’ve put people like me to death there.”

“Yes I was involved in the protest at Trafalgar Square, we wanted to speak out against the law in Uganda. It’s not right how they treat gay people there. In Uganda, I have nobody there, it’s very dangerous for me. If I can stay here in the UK I can continue my studies, live my life freely, openly, without fear.”

This is the woman who faces deportation back to Uganda on January 28th. International Activists have worked in unity to effect a campaign to save Brenda from certain harm.

Brenda is presently detained at Yarlswood Immigrtaion Removal Centre. She has another removal date set for 28th January 2011 to Entebbe Uganda in Flight VS671 & KQ412 via Nairobi, Kenya at 21.20 hrs.

I am supporting asylum for this woman as it appears to me that she could well face threat in Uganda. The case took an interesting and unexpected turn yesterday when Anti-Homosexuality Bill author called Melanie Nathan, the author of the Lezgetreal blog, to comment on the Namigadde case:

Bahati said he read the piece about Brenda  Namigadde where I quoted him and that he was calling to tell me to give Brenda a message. The author of the anti-gay legislation said that the legislation will be presented to the Ugandan Parliament in the next few weeks. Homosexuality Including men and women is considered a crime in Uganda as being against the order of nature. The new Bill by Bahati seeks to affirm its criminalization and also calls for the death penalty in certain circumstances.

He told me that Brenda should stop bad mouthing Uganda; that she would be welcome back to Uganda if she renounced her homosexuality and if she “repented.”   I asked him if he based this ideal upon religious beliefs and he said “yes” that he did. I asked what if Brenda did not have the same belief as he did?  I asked what if she did not believe that she could repent?  He affirmed then she would be tried as a criminal.

After speaking to Mr. Bahati, I realize that he believes that Ms. Namigadde is indeed a lesbian. This serves only to enhance the danger she is in and flies in the face of the UK assertion that she may not have proved that she is a lesbian. She is indeed in danger.

Although the campaign is in full swing in Uganda, Mr. Bahati faces no opposition and must have some time on his hands.

Change.org and Paul Canning have efforts going to alert the UK authorities about what would be good for Ms. Namigadde.

More on this situation from the UK Guardian.

Did the Hyde Amendment keep Kermit Gosnell in business?

By now, the facts are well known. Kermit Gosnell, a physician in charge of Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia, was charged last week with the deaths of a former patient via a botched abortion and seven infants who were born alive and then murdered. The grand jury report of the investigation is here and another post on the matter is here.

Some pro-choice advocates are blaming restrictions on abortion and abortion funding, such as the Hyde Amendment for the tragedy. For instance, Amanda Marcotte, writing for RhRealityCheck.org, asks, “Why can’t anti-choicers accept that restricting abortion means more predators like Kermit Gosnell will get customers?” Susan Schewel, executive director of the Women’s Medical Fund, a group that funds abortion for low income women, suggests that the lack of Medicaid funding caused by the Hyde Amendment drives women to low cost horror factories such as operated by Gosnell. In a letter to supporters about the Gosnell tragedy, Schewel writes, “This prohibition on Medicaid payment for abortion leaves desperate women vulnerable to sub-standard providers.

The problem with this line of thinking is that Gosnell was able to accept Medicaid funding, at least for vaccines. The grand jury report indicates that he took insurance payments, at least some from Medicaid via a City of Philadelphia program that paid for vaccinations. I have also learned this afternoon that he was a network provider for the insurance giant Aetna until early 2010.

According to the grand jury report, at least one pro-choice group, the Delaware Pro-Choice Abortion Fund paid for abortions at Gosnell’s clinic. The issue here was not access but lack of oversight. Incidentally, I can find no indication that the pro-choice funding group ever checked up on Gosnell.

If Medicaid paid for abortion, yes, Gosnell’s clients would have had free or nearly free services, but without oversight, those free services could have been pretty costly. The issue here is oversight, or rather the lack of it, and let’s not forget why that oversight was lacking. Kenneth Brody, Department of Health lawyer said there was consideration given to restarting abortion clinic regulation in 1999. However, the decision was not to inspect. Why? Brody told the grand jury:

…there was a concern that if they did routine inspections, that they may find a lot of these facilities didn’t meet [the standards for getting patients out by stretcher or wheelchair in an emergency], and then there would be less abortion facilities, less access to women to have an abortion.

Gosnell was performing procedures that few others would do even if the Hyde amendment was not in force. But those Medicaid did allow (rape, health of the mother), he did perform, at least according to this rate sheet obtained at Gosnell’s clinic.

I agree with the Philadelphia grand jury; the massacre in Philadelphia was due to a lack of oversight impure and painfully simple.

Jon Stewart on playing the Nazi card

Dude, it only took you a week to forget everything…

Speaks for itself, listen up.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Word Warcraft
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook

 

Jon Stewart says very near the end of the clip…

What I have a problem with is people using hyperbole to induce an irrational fear of a particular group with the goal of ultimately reducing their numbers.

I have a problem with that too.

Bryan Fischer doubles down on GLBT housing regulations

In a Saturday article, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer told the Christian Post that he believes the Department of Housing and Urban Development should not expand discrimination rules to include sexual orientation and gender identity.  His reasons: gays aren’t really discriminated against and even if they are, they can choose not be gay.

However, in a AFA column today, he adds some reasons which will make the Southern Poverty Law Center even more secure in their decision to place the AFA on their list of GLBT hate groups.

There are two more reasons why this is a perfectly bad idea. (I brought both of these up with the writer of the Christian Post article, but they did not make it into the published piece.) One, many young boys living in HUD housing are already in troubled domestic situations, many with no father presence in the home. The last thing they need is suddenly to be living next door to two males modeling a sexually abnormal lifestyle. Role models matter immensely to young boys, and they don’t need any more adults around them setting bad examples. They’ve already been exposed to enough of that. 

And we know – despite the howls of protest to the contrary – that male homosexuals molest young boys at a hugely exaggerated rate. The Roman Catholic Church, for instance, did a study of its own priests who molested children, and found that 81% of the victims were boys. 

The last thing in the world young males in troubled home settings need is to be put in a situation where there is a heightened chance they will be sexually molested by their next door neighbors. These HUD housing projects will become hunting grounds with easy prey for homosexual pedophiles.

Neither of these reasons has any merit. Somehow Fischer knows things that the rest of us don’t know. Conflating pedophilia with homosexuality is a categorical error made by many of the SPLC hate groups. While I can understand the impulse to keep pedophiles away from children, this concern does not apply to GLBT people who have no sexual desire for children. Fischer’s argument is ironic given the fact that ideological fellow traveler, Scott Lively, recently had a sex offender working around teens in his new coffee house.

Bahati “more than confident” bill will pass

As quoted in todays’s Monitor, Ugandan MP David Bahati says not to mix religion and politics but then does so by saying this:

Qn: Of late you have been silent about the Anti -Homosexuality Bill; did the incidents in the US where you were barred from attending a conference scare you?

The Bill is within the responsible committee of Parliament. We have been assured that it will be considered before May; before the expiry of this Parliament. The events in the USA surely exposed the kind of intorelence that is inconsistent with the book values of American People and strengthened me and the Ugandan people in our defence of the children and the family. This Bill provides a God given opportunity for Uganda to provide leadership on this issue and Iam more than confident that it will pass.