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American Jewish World Service creates fund to promote LGBT rights in Uganda

(NEW YORK) In response to egregious human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Uganda, the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) has announced the establishment of the Urgent LGBT Ugnda Fund, which will support grassroots organizations working to defeat he Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The bill seeks to broaden the criminalization of homosexuality and penalize supporters and funders of LGBT programs and rights. It would also make it extremely difficult for groups to implement effective prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

"AJWS's work is propelled by a very basic value: the essential dignity of every human being," said AJWS president Ruth Messinger. "In the spirit of b'tselem elohim -- the understanding that each person is made in the divine image -- we recognize that every human life is of equal value.

"We are especially reminded of this in supporting the work of LGBT communities around the globe."

AJWS is part of a growing progressive, faith-based coalition committed to global justice and has joined with leading advocacy organizations and international human rights funders in calling on the U.S. government to swiftly condemn Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill. AJWS has also taken the lead in calling upon Jewish and other faith-based leaders to sign onto congressional letters to President Barack Obama and Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. These letters are currently being circulated by the House of Representatives Equality Caucus.