Press statement

UNAIDS condemns the killing of Ugandan gay activist David Kato

GENEVA, 27 January 2011— UNAIDS expresses grave concern over the killing of David Kato, a prominent gay activist and human rights defender in Uganda.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Mr Kato,” said Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director. “I urge the Government of Uganda to conduct a thorough investigation into his death, as well as to ensure adequate security for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.”

Mr Kato was a primary school teacher and a leading voice against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Sex between men is considered illegal under Uganda’s existing laws. The United Nations including UNAIDS and many development partners have called on the Ugandan Parliament to drop the bill and to decriminalize same-sex behaviour.

Mr Kato’s death comes days after the High Court of Uganda ruled that Uganda’s constitution protects the right to dignity and privacy for all Ugandans regardless of their sexual orientation. Specifically, the court ruled that inciting violence against people based on their sexual orientation threatens their right to human dignity.

This ruling came from a case against a local publication that had published a photograph of Mr Kato and others, urging citizens ‘to hang them because of their sexual orientation’. UNAIDS denounces homophobia and actions that incite violence against individuals and communities.

Some 80 countries or areas around the world have laws that make same-sex behaviour a criminal offence. UNAIDS believes that such laws are discriminatory and create obstacles for people accessing HIV services.

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