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Wikileaks Cable Reveals Ugandan Mockery of Activist David Kato, Diplomatic Efforts to Fight 'Kill the Gays' Bill

A Wikileaks cable reveals U.S. concerns about the heightened atmosphere of homophobia in Uganda, particularly as it related to the "kill the gays" bill, and reveals the U.S. was working to combat teh still pending legislation.

Memos also reveal the danger posed to LGBT activists in the country, particularly David Kato, who was openly mocked at a UN consultative meeting in December 2009. Kato was beaten to death at his home last month.

The Guardian reports: Kato

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 gays.

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 run-up to Ugandan elections 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. The memos, classified as confidential, also reveal US diplomatic attempts to combat the draconian bill – which is at the parliamentary committee stage.

Under the heading Comment: Homophobic Demagogues, the diplomat reports in the Christmas Eve cable that Bahati, a born-again Christian MP from the ruling party, had become "further isolated" following "recent condemnations" by high-profile Pastor Rick Warren and other US-based individuals who are against the bill. However, it was clear he would not yield to international pressure. Referring to Bahati, the diplomat said: "His homophobia … is blinding and incurable."

The diplomat refers also to James Nsaba Buturo, Uganda's minister for ethics and integrity, a strong supporter of the bill, and Pastor Martin Ssempa, who organises anti-gay rallies in Uganda, as key players ushering in a new era of intolerance.

At the UN consultative meeting described in the memos, David Kato was reportedly mocked at such a level it was difficult to hear his speech. Bahati and Ssempa were present at that meeting:

"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."

There were grave concerns for the LGBT activists in the country:

"The diplomat said that, prior to the debate, he had received a text message from a gay activist expressing concerns for the safety of representatives scheduled to attend."

WikiLeaks cables: Ugandan gay rights activist 'mocked' at rights seminar [guardian] (via rex)

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Comments

  1. It's remarkable that forces in the US government appear anxious to suppress Wikileaks and punish Assante, when on balance, what's been revealed makes us (the US, I mean) look good, and appears to indicate that the criminality of the Bush years is fading away.

    Posted by: tominsf | Feb 17, 2011 2:06:31 PM


  2. @Tominsf, the cables reveal nothing except prove that our government and State Department have been transparent and forthright with us. In fact, they are doing a great job.

    BUT they are SO damaging. How can you not see that? Yes, it might be good reading for you, you like seeing behind-the-scenes of diplomacy, but it is hurting the very cause you care about.

    You think, now that our diplomats' private memos and musings are made public, they will continue to have the same access and authority with the Ugandan government, the very things that can help prevent this bill? All the players mentioned in these memos will try and cut off the access of US diplomats. What Americans were doing will not have to be channeled through third parties, probably European diplomats. No one will talk to US diplomats anymore because of Assange.

    Posted by: Mike C. | Feb 17, 2011 2:24:49 PM


  3. The Economist's weekly obituary column was of Mr. Kato this week (Feb 12 issue).

    Posted by: Dave in Chicago | Feb 17, 2011 3:43:08 PM


  4. may his life and tragic death open many eyes!!!hate is not the "good" way...

    Posted by: sal | Feb 17, 2011 7:11:35 PM


  5. The UN has a horrible history of discriminating against its gay employees. There are retired UN officials collecting generous pensions for life who are guilty of the worst anti-gay offenses. We pay for it with our tax dollars. Nobody polices the corrupt cesspool known as the UN. This is why the UN does nothing to stop the madness in Uganda, Iran and other centers of murderous gay genocide.

    Posted by: freestuffffff | Feb 17, 2011 9:02:32 PM


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