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Crunch Time to Stop Uganda's Gay Death Bill

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The Uganda gay death penalty bill didn’t pass on Wednesday. But in an unprecedented move, Parliament has bought more time, and will debate it in an emergency session this Friday.

President Museveni can stop the bill and we have a unique chance to influence him -- today he is being sworn in for another term in office and in the next 24 hours world leaders will send him welcoming messages. Museveni is sensitive to views on his statesmanship, and relies heavily on the support of many governments. If our Heads of State tell him that they reject this heinous bill and expect him to step in -- the bill could be scrapped.

We've done it before -- last year the bill was shelved after a global outcry pushed President Obama to call it 'odious'. Now let's flood our Heads of State with calls urging them to send a clear message to Uganda to drop the bill and protect human rights. This is about life or death for the brave gay activists on the ground, and they deserve our full support. We have only 24 hours -- click below to take urgent action now:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_call_to_stop_homophobia/?vl

This fight is down to the wire. Wednesday should have been the last day of the current Ugandan Parliament, and throughout the day the bill was taken on and off the agenda. When the religious extremists got it back on, human rights champions countered to get it removed. The Avaaz petition against the bill grew at lightening speeds of nearly 3000 signers a minute and was reported by media all over the world, and our brave friends on the ground, regularly updated members of Parliament on its progress.

But at 7 PM in Uganda, the Parliament agreed to an extraordinary move -- they pushed the bill into an emergency hearing on Friday. Now it is crunch time. If the bill doesn’t come to a vote on Friday, Parliament closes and all unfinished business is scrapped, but if Museveni allows this to be voted in, gay Ugandans could be sent to jail for life and “serial offenders” could be executed. President Museveni is the one person who can stop this, by either vetoing the bill or pressuring Parliament not to vote on it.

Our close friend and Ugandan gay rights activist Frank Mugisha just sent us this message: "If this bill passes there is going to be more harassment, and more bashing and violence in the streets. This anti-gay bill will turn Uganda into a police state where we won't even be able to live here without being thrown in jail or hanged. Please help!"

In the last week over 1.5 million of us have signed the petition calling on Uganda to throw out this bill. We can’t stop now -- our best chance to prevent the bill is for world leaders to urgently and forcefully condemn this bill and push Museveni to act. Stand with Frank and call now!

http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_call_to_stop_homophobia/?vl

All life, no matter what creed, nationality or sexual orientation, is equally precious, and the Avaaz community has consistently stood with activists around the world fighting injustices. We’ve proved that, when hundreds of thousands of us come together in solidarity and with purpose, we have the power to change the world for the better. As this fight in Uganda enters its final moments, let’s continue to fight for equality and stand with our courageous friends on the ground.

With hope and determination,

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

SOURCES:

Ugandan parliament yet to debate bill that would jail gay people for life
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/11/uganda-gay-people

Uganda anti-gay bill stalled after global outcry
http://www.nowpublic.com/world/uganda-anti-gay-bill-stalled-after-global-outcry

Uganda's parliament set to debate anti-gay death penalty bill on May 13, reports Human Rights Watch
http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2011/05/ugandas-parliament-set-to-debate-anti-gay-death-penalty-bill-on-may-13-reports-human-rights-watch.html

Uganda bill dropped for now
http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/2011/05/11/uganda-bill-dropped-for-now/51849