Uganda: Rights not Repression
Uganda’s parliament is preparing to pass a brutal new law that would punish gay people with prison — even death.
Posted by: Francis Sealey, 21st C/N Organiser, Source: Avaaz.org
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.”
With the decision expected in days, only an irresistible wave of worldwide pressure will be enough to save Frank’s life and many others. Let’s build a huge petition to stop the gay death law — click here to take action, then forward this article as an e-mail: http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_rights/?vl
The petition will be delivered to President Museveni, members of the review committee and Ugandan embassies worldwide this week before it’s too late, as well as to key donor governments.
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!
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 about it:
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.
By rejecting this dangerous bill and supporting the breadth of opposition to it, you can help set a crucial precedent. Let’s build massive support for Uganda’s human rights defenders, and save lives by stopping this bill — sign now here, then tell friends and family: http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_rights/?vl