Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Please check out this petition

Avaaz contacted me today.

This is what Avaaz says about itself: is 3.8-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (The word "Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.) The Avaaz team works from 10 countries on 3 continents, and Avaaz members live in every country in the world.

The communication today was about a new law being prepared to put before the Ugandan parliament, proposing to make homosexuality punishable by death.

This is what Avaaz says: The bill proposes life imprisonment for anyone convicted of having same-sex relations and imposes the death penalty for “serial offenders”. NGOs working to prevent the spread of HIV could be imprisoned for up to 7 years for “promoting homosexuality”. Even members of the public face up to three years in jail if they fail to report homosexual activity to the police within 24 hours!

Avaaz further tells us:

Initial international criticism drove the President to call for a review. But after a well-funded and vicious lobbying effort by extremists, the bill looks set to be passed -- threatening widespread persecution and bloodshed.

Opposition to the bill is rising, including from the Anglican church. Ugandan gay rights advocate Frank Mugisha writes, "This law will put us in serious danger. Please, sign the petition and tell others to stand with us – if there’s a huge global response, our government will see that Uganda will be internationally isolated by the proposed law, and strike it down".

The bill’s advocates claim that it defends national culture, but its strongest critics come from within Uganda. The Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha is one of many who’s written to us – he says, "It is violating our cultures, traditions and religious values that teach against intolerance, injustice, hatred and violence. We need laws to protect people - not ones that will humiliate, ridicule, persecute and kill them en masse."

Avaaz works by spreading the word all around the world, to enable the voices of people throughout the international human family to be heard.

Today they are asking us simply to sign the petition they have prepared, asking the Ugandan parliament not to go ahead with passing this brutal law. With the decision in Uganda expected within days, Avaaz is working to build a petition of a million voices in protest against the proposed bill. When I signed this morning, they had about 40,000 names so far.

I do encourage you to add your name to the petition. You can read about it and add your voice to the protest here.

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