January 28, 2011
Ambassador Eileen C. Donahoe
U.S. Permanent Representative to the Human Rights Council
I echo President Obama, Secretary Clinton and so many others in expressing deep sadness at the senseless loss of Ugandan human rights defender and LGBT activist David Kato. As an advocate for the group Sexual Minorities Uganda, David Kato worked tirelessly to improve the everyday lives of vulnerable gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. His efforts helped achieved the Ugandan High Court’s January 3 ruling safeguarding all Ugandans’ right to privacy and the preservation of their human dignity.
Ironically, only a day before Kato’s brutal murder in his home in Kampala, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon addressed the Human Rights Council and called on all states to ensure the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. Secretary General Ban stated: “We must reject persecution of people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity who may be arrested, detained or executed for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender… they deserve our support in safeguarding their fundamental human rights.”
I call upon the Ugandan authorities to act quickly to thoroughly investigate this heinous crime and to prosecute those responsible for it. I also call on the Government and people of Uganda, along with the international community, to speak out against discrimination of Uganda’s LGBT community, and in favor of equal rights for all. It should be clear that it is incumbent upon all of us, particularly in our roles as representatives to the Human Rights Council, to do more to ensure that brave individuals like David Kato can live with dignity and enjoy the same rights to which all human beings are entitled. As Secretary Clinton stated, “the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons.” We will therefore continue to work at the Human Rights Council and elsewhere to advance a comprehensive human rights policy, and to stand with those who make the world a more just place.