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AJWS launches fund to back Ugandan gays

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A major U.S. Jewish relief service launched a fund to support opposition to a proposed Ugandan law that targets gays.

The American Jewish World Service, already active in relief activities in the east African nation, announced last Friday the Urgent LGBT Uganda Fund, using the acronym for Lesbian-Gay-Transgender-Bisexual.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill would expand penalties for gay activity up to the death penalty.

"The passage of this bill would severely impede human rights and development groups’ efforts to ensure the safety and security of the Ugandan LGBT community," an AJWS statement said. "It would also make it extremely difficult for groups to implement effective prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Moreover, the bill violates the freedom of every person to live a safe and dignified life — a core value that unifies all of AJWS’s work and is central to the Jewish experience."

AJWS has circulated letters among lawmakers in Congress and elsewhere calling on President Obama and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to push back against the legislation.

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