Health4Men, a project of the Anova Health Institute and sponsored by USAID/PEPFAR, joins the international outcry in strongly condemning this act of brutality. Kato, an outspoken member of Sexual Minorities Uganda, was amongst the group of gay men whose identities were made public late last year in the extremist newspaper The Rolling Stone.
The paper’s homoprejudiced campaign incited violence against gay-identifying men, and most likely contributed to the escalating threats Kano had been receiving on his life. This incident marks a dark day for human rights, and specifically the rights of gay men, in Africa.
Whilst the sheer brutality of this act is alarming, it is not a far cry from the levels of prejudice, intimidation and violence that men who have sex with men (referred to as MSM) in Africa have to endure on a daily basis. Ongoing discrimination and stigma negate such mens mental and sexual health, and their overall denial of human rights often means that they are barred access to essential health services.
Executive Director of the Anova Health Institute, Professor James McIntyre expressed his shock at the news of the murder. "This barbaric act will further endanger the health of MSM across Africa. Our research in this field and our experience of providing care for MSM in our clinics has shown that fear is the single biggest factor that makes MSM delay life-saving health care. South Africa needs to join the international outcry against the blatant infringements of the human rights of MSM in Uganda."
“We can only attempt to imagine the fear and anxiety other gay men are experiencing in Uganda and countries with similar views on homosexuality. This is a human rights disaster.” said Glenn de Swardt of Health4Men, expressing condolences to Kato’s friends and associates, and to Uganda’s gay community earlier today.
Dr Andrew Tucker of Cambridge University is an associate of the late Kato and works closely with Health4Men in HIV prevention campaigns which target African MSM in prejudiced environments. “David was a hero and an inspiration to gay people across Uganda, the region and across the world. He was singularly committed to bettering the lives of all gay people. We have lost a giant of the stature of Simon Nkoli and Harvey Milk,” said Dr Tucker.
On Wednesday, Ugandan police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba told press that they “could not confirm that Kato was killed because he was gay or whether it was just an ordinary crime”.
Health4Men calls on the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni to publicly decry David Kato’s murder, to denounce homoprejudice, and to personally ensure that Kato’s murderers are brought to book. Failing this, the international community must hold President Museveni personally accountable for his complicity in a human rights crime.
President Obama’s official statement: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/01/27/statement-president-killing-david-kato
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s reaction: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/01/155520.htm
Post on the US Department of State Official Blog, by Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator: http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/david_kato
Contact Glenn de Swardt at Health4Men (t) 021 421 6127 (m)071 671 5875 or firstname.lastname@example.org
OR visit Health4Men www.health4men.co.za