White House responds to murder of Ugandan LGBT rights activist

As Vanessa reported yesterday, Ugandan LGBT rights activist David Kato was killed on Wednesday, just a few months after the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone published his photo under the headline “Hang them.” The New York Times has audio of Kato talking about his experience as a gay man in Uganda and about the homophobic climate in that country. Yesterday, the White House released as statement about his murder, noting that violence against members of the LGBT community is a global problem that recently manifested in Honduras as well:

Statement by the President on the Killing of David Kato

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.

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.

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.

It’s encouraging to see the White House take a clear and supportive stand on this. The website for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), the organization for which Kato worked, is currently down, but if you’d like to make your position on global LGBT rights known in the wake of this frightening act of violence, please consider giving to them.

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