WikiLeaks cables: Ugandan gay rights activist 'mocked' at rights seminar

Published: February 17, 2011

Murdered gay rights activist David Kato was mocked at a UN-backed debate on Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill, according to a US diplomat in Kampala in a leaked American embassy cable.

The diplomat said Kato, who was bludgeoned to death near his home in the capital, Kampala, last month, delivered a well-written speech against the bill, but his words were almost inaudible due to "his evident nervousness". Throughout his talk a member of the Ugandan Human Rights Commission "openly joked and snickered" with supporters of the bill, the diplomat claimed in the cable.

The "consultative meeting" in December 2009, organised with funding from the UN, aimed to discuss the bill, which would impose the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality" and life imprisonment for consenting adults who have gay sex.

In the cable, dated 24 December 2009, the diplomat claimed Ugandan politicians, including the author of the anti-homosexuality bill, David Bahati, had channelled anger at the country’s socio-political failings into "violent hatred" of gay people.

Other confidential memos sent between Kampala and Washington in 2009-2010 and sent to WikiLeaks paint a picture of a worsening human rights climate in the runup to Ugandan elections on Friday . They chart Uganda’s "chilling" descent from tolerance to violent homophobia and a deepening fear among gay activists, who claim they are being increasingly monitored and harassed.

Full text of article available at link below –

Leave a Reply