Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Uganda: murder of David Kato

Delivered in Plenary - 17th February 2011

Mr President

The murder of David Kato is the direct result of the hatred and hostility towards Uganda’s LGBT community, whipped up by certain hard-line parliamentarians in that country. Twice in the past year we have lambasted the outrageous attempts by some MPs in Uganda to mandate the death penalty for the so-called crime of same-sex activity.

It is inevitable that in a climate of such bigotry the lives of gay rights activists would be endangered, and so it has sadly proved to be the case with David Kato. He knew the risks of publicly defending gays. He and other alleged homosexuals were outed last year by a newspaper which printed their photos next to a headline which said, disgracefully, ‘hang them’. I am sure that many of my London constituents are deeply concerned about the European Union giving financial aid to a country where such disgusting sentiments are not only tolerated but sometimes apparently officially condoned.

I hope that Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament will consider carefully what action it can take to register our anger and disgust at Mr Kato’s murder and, more generally, to underline that the EU’s continuing engagement and financial aid to African countries must be reciprocated with progress on fundamental human rights on that continent.