David Kato, a gay rights activist in Uganda, was beaten and killed in his home yesterday. Kato worked for Sexual Minorities Uganda and was a vocal critic of the Anti-Homosexuality bill, which would impose life sentences or the death penalty for gay people.
In October, Kato was included in a list of Uganda's "top homosexuals" published by the Rolling Stone, a Ugandan newspaper unconnected to the same-name American magazine. The newspaper also published the addresses of gays and lesbians in Uganda and a yellow banner on the side reading, "hang them." The newspaper stated that homosexuals are raiding schools and recruiting children. Since the article's publication, at least four gay people on the list have been attacked and others are in hiding.
Maria Burnett, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, stated, "David Kato's death is a tragic loss to the human rights community. David had faced the increased threats to Ugandan LGBT people bravely and will be sorely missed."
Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries with the exception of South Africa, which recognizes gay marriage, but even there, anti-gay practices such as "corrective rapes" on lesbians, are commonplace.
Media Resources: Human Rights Watch Press Release 1/27/11; New York Times 1/27/11; CNN 1/27/11
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .