(see our official press release)
31 January 2011 – The UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) NGO Delegation is saddened by the news of the murder of David Kato, a key activist in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender person (LGBT) community in Uganda. David was well known to the Delegation, our partners and constituencies and his tireless work was inspiring to us all.
In light of this, the NGO Delegation supports the call of UNAIDS and other organizations for the Ugandan Parliament to drop the pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill and to decriminalize same-sex behaviour. We ask the government to react quickly against this killing and demand an immediate and thorough investigation, including into the links between the murder, David’s gay rights activism, the anti-gay sentiments espoused by local media and the anticipated legislation.
The Delegation denounces the on-going climate of discrimination against the LGBT community in Uganda, including the public campaigns against this community and the continuing criminalization of homosexuality. We hope that the Ugandan government takes to heart the recent ruling of the High Court of Uganda that inciting violence against people based on their sexual orientation threatens their right to human dignity.
We reiterate the decision made at the 26th UNAIDS PCB meeting that there must be sustained efforts by all member states to alleviate stigma and discrimination, including the removal of “punitive laws, policies and practices that block access to services, effective responses to HIV and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, in order to create an enabling environment”. What happened in Uganda is one in a growing number of disturbing reports of violence, harassment and murder waged against LGBT people globally. This constitutes a persistent and unacceptable pattern, one that seriously undermines all efforts in the fight for rights and against HIV.
The NGO Delegation believes that Ugandans and people everywhere should have the right to dignity, privacy and access to services regardless of their sexual orientation. All governments, donors and communities must now take a proactive and vocal stance to address and challenge the laws, policies and practices that limit these rights and HIV efforts worldwide.
The UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board NGO Delegation
Dr. George Ayala, The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF), United States
Dr. Mabel Bianco, Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer (FEIM), Argentina
Mr. Abdullah Denovan, Jaringan Orang Terinfeksi HIV Indonesia (JOTHI) / Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (APN+), Indonesia
Dr. Amira Herdoiza, Corporación Kimirina, Ecuador
Ms. Ebony Johnson, International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW-Global), United States
Ms. Felicita Hikuam, Aids and Rights Alliance of Southern Africa (ARASA), Namibia
Ms. Nadia Rafif, Association de Lutte Contre le Sida (ALCS), Morocco
Ms. Rathi Ramanathan, Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), Thailand
Mr. Rhon Reynolds, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, The Netherlands
Mr. Matthew Southwell, International Network of People who Use Drugs, UK