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[UPDATE 16-Apr] 48 Hours to Stop Uganda's Gay Death Penalty - please sign the petition

[UPDATE 16-April]

From: "Ricken Patel - Avaaz.org" avaaz@avaaz.org
Date: 16 May 2011 17:50:38 GMT+01:00
Subject: Uganda Gay Death Penalty - We Won!!

Dear friends,

Frank Mugisha and other brave human rights defenders delivering our petition to the Ugandan Parliament just before leaders dropped the gay death penalty law. Uganda's anti-gay law has failed! It looked sure to pass last week, but after 1.6 million petition signatures delivered to Parliament, tens of thousands of phone calls to our own governments, hundreds of media stories about our campaign and a massive global outcry, Ugandan politicians dropped the bill!

It was down to the wire - religious extremists tried to push the bill through on Wednesday, and then convened an unprecedented emergency session of Parliament on Friday. But each time, within hours, we reacted. A huge congratulations to everyone who signed, called, forwarded and donated to this campaign - with our help, thousands of innocent people in Uganda's gay community do not wake up this morning facing execution for whom they chose to love.

Frank Mugisha, a courageous leader of the gay community in Uganda sent us this message:

"Brave Ugandan LGBT activists and millions of people around the world have stood together and faced down this horrendous anti-homosexuality bill.The support from the Avaaz global community has tipped the scales to prevent this Bill going forward. Global solidarity has made a huge difference."

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs' Office also wrote to Avaaz:

"Many thanks. As you know, thanks to a very large extent to the intensive lobbying and combined effort of you, other civil society representatives, EU and other governments, plus our delegation and embassies on the ground the Bill was not presented to the Parliament this morning."

This fight is not over. The extremists behind this bill could try again within just 18 months. But this is the second time we've helped defeat this bill, and we'll keep going until the hate-mongers give up.

Transforming the deeper causes of ignorance and hatred behind homophobia is an historic, long term struggle, one of the great causes of our generation. But Uganda has become a front line in that struggle, and a powerful symbol. The victory there echoes across many other places where hope is desperately needed, showing that kindness, love, tolerance and respect can defeat hatred and ignorance. Again, a huge thanks to all who made it happen.

With enormous gratitude and admiration for this amazing community,

Ricken, Emma, Iain, Alice, Giulia, Saloni and the whole Avaaz team.

Media highlights:

Anti-gay bill shelved:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13392723

Avaaz's response to the outcome in the Guardian:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/13/uganda-anti-gay-bill-shelved

Ugandan President did not back bill because of "criticism of human rights groups":
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/05/13/international/i042638D37.DTL

Anti-gay bill delayed amid outcry:
http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Uganda-shelves-anti-gay-bill-20110513

Uganda's "kill the gays" bill defeated:
http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE74C0HP20110513


Dear friends,

In 48 hours, the Ugandan Parliament may vote on a brutal new law that carries the death penalty for homosexuality. Thousands of Ugandans could face execution -- just for being gay.

We've helped stop this bill before, and we can do it again. After a massive global outcry last year, Ugandan President Museveni blocked the bill's progress. But political unrest is mounting in Uganda, and religious extremists in Parliament are hoping confusion and violence in the streets will distract the international community from a second push to pass this hate-filled law. We can show them that the world is still watching. If we block the vote for two more days until Parliament closes, the bill will expire forever.

We have no time to lose. Almost half a million of us have already joined the call -- let’s get to one million voices against Uganda's gay death penalty in the next 48 hours -- click here to take action, then forward this email to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_stop_homophobia_petition/

Being gay in Uganda is already dangerous and terrifying. They are regularly harassed and beaten, and just months ago, gay rights activist, David Kato (pictured above), was brutally murdered in his own home. Now LGBT Ugandans are threatened by this draconian law which imposes life imprisonment for people convicted of same-sex relations and the death penalty for “serial offenders”. Even NGOs working to prevent the spread of HIV can be imprisoned for “promoting homosexuality” under this hate-filled law.

Right now, Uganda is in political turmoil -- in the wake of the Arab spring, people across the country are taking to the streets, protesting high food and gas prices. President Museveni has responded by violently cracking down on the opposition. This upheaval has provided religious extremists in Parliament the perfect chance to slip in the shelved anti-gay bill just days before Parliament closes and all proposed laws are wiped from the books.

President Museveni backed away from this bill last year after international pressure threatened Uganda's aid and support. With violent protests sweeping the streets, his government is more vulnerable than ever. Let's build a million strong petition to stop the gay death penalty bill again and save lives. We only have 48 hours -- sign below, then tell friends and family:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_stop_homophobia_petition/

Earlier this year, we stood in solidarity with Uganda's equality movement to show that every human life, no matter what creed, nationality or sexual orientation, is equally precious. Our international petition condemning the gay death penalty law was delivered to Parliament – spurring a global news story and enough pressure to block the bill for months. When a tabloid newspaper published 100 names, pictures and addresses, of suspected gays and those identified were threatened, Avaaz supported a legal case against the paper and we won! Together we have stood up, time and time again, for Uganda’s gay community -- now they need us more than ever.

With hope and determination,

Emma, Iain, Alice, Morgan, Brianna and the rest of the Avaaz team

SOURCES:

Ugandan lawmakers hold hearings on anti-gay bill
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article

Uganda gay activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera hailed
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13278374

Pulling Out All the Stops to Push an Antigay Bill
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/14/world/africa/14uganda.html

Support the Avaaz community! We're entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way -- donate here.

TAGGED: ABUSE, CAMPAIGNS, HATE, LAW, POLITICS


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