Language Switcher

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of the right to freedom of opinion: Summary of cases, A/HRC/17/27/Add.1, 27 May 2011: Uganda


Allegation letter 

2228. On 1 February 2011, the Special Rapporteur, together with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, sent an allegation letter concerning the death threats against and subsequent murder of Mr. David Kato. Mr. Kato was the advocacy officer of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights organizations working to promote the human rights of the LGBT community in Uganda.

2229. According to the information received, on 26 January 2011, at approximately 13:00 a man entered the home of David Kato and hit him twice on the head. The man then fled the scene by car. Mr. Kato died on his way to Kawolo hospital as a result of injuries sustained during the beating.

2230. In recent months Mr. Kato had received numerous death threats in connection with his work on LGBT rights, and especially following the publication of an article entitled “Hang them” in Rolling Stones, a local newspaper. The article provided names, addresses and photos of members and perceived members of the LGBT community in Uganda. Mr. Kato’s photo was featured on the front cover. Although the motives of his attacker have not yet been clearly determined, Mr. Kato is a well-known public figure and face of the LGBT movement in Uganda, and has long been considered a prime target for anti-gay vigilantism.

2231. According to information received, the murder of Mr. Kato forms part of an increasing trend of attacks and intimidation against human rights defenders, particularly those working on LGBT issues. The attacks take place against a background of media reports which appear to incite discrimination, hostility and violence, as well as proposed legislation to further entrench the criminalization of homosexuality and to provide for increased criminal penalties against persons found to be homosexual.


2232. The Special Rapporteur regrets that at the time of finalizing the present report, the Government of Uganda has not responded to the communications sent during the reporting period, and has not responded to any of the 8 communications sent earlier. He considers response to his communications an important part of cooperation by Governments, and urges the Government to respond to concerns raised by him and provide detailed information regarding investigations undertaken, prosecutions as well as protective measures taken.

Link to full text of the report: