For those of you not familiar with Avaaz.org, they are in international organization/network which fights for civic rights, individual rights, and global sanity through in ingenious web of contacts and social media synergies. You can learn more, donate, or spread the word via their website (www.avaaz.org).
Just yesterday Avaaz utilized the power of the internet and social media to overturn a draconian Ugandan law - fostered by a right-wing/conservative coalition - which would have proscribed the death penalty for homosexuality. The very thought of such a law makes one's stomach turn, yet in some parts of our world (even here) there are hyper-conservative zealots who would welcome such thinking.
Thank God Avaaz was there to speak out. Here's the story:
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.
Anti-gay bill shelved:
Avaaz's response to the outcome in the Guardian:
Ugandan President did not back bill because of "criticism of human rights groups":
Anti-gay bill delayed amid outcry:
Uganda's "kill the gays" bill defeated:
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