THOUSANDS OF BRITISH CITIZENS LET AFGHANS (AND OTHERS) VOTE IN THEIR PLACE


On April 30th, citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ghana will be casting votes in UK elections.

Thousands of British citizens have donated their votes to people around the world directly affected by UK government policies on war, climate and trade.

The ‘GIVE YOUR VOTE’ initiative allows people in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ghana to have a vote in the UK election by linking up with a 'Vote Pal' in the UK, or sending a text to a UK citizen who has pledged to represent their votes on election day.

The actor Keith Allen who pledged his Stroud constituency vote to Atique Chowdhary a coastal worker in Bangladesh, whose island was submerged because of rising sea-levels, said "If capitalism knows no boundaries then neither do I."

Voting will take place by a mass text in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ghana on Friday 30th April.

Marking the "first ever-cross border election" and a 'turning point in the history of democracy' there will be:

* A street carnival in Accra where the opening of phone lines will be announced live.
* A human chain around the city in Dhaka.
* A live 'Pop-Idol' style TV show aired across Afghanistan debating the three party policies.

Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu, who is a patron of the campaign, calls Give Your Vote “a radical call for a world where all human beings have an equal say in the politics that affect them”.

Sam Packer of Egality UK said “Give Your Vote challenges the idea that democracy is just a national issue. Whilst we talk about proportional representation on the national level where is the discussion about the absence of democracy on the global level?"

LSE Professor and Fellow at the Centre for Globalisation and Regionalisation in Warwick, Jan Aarte Scholte said, "Give Your Vote challenges us to reinvent meaningful democracy for today’s more global world.”

Bangladeshi Economist and member of the Nobel-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) team, Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmed also supporting the campaign said, “'In the highly iniquitous global order, the developed countries call all the shots. Give Your Vote invokes the inherent equality of all human beings to take part in global, political, economic and climate change related decisions by developed countries, that affect their lives and livelihoods."

Margarita, 72 who runs a cafe in Brixton market and is giving her vote in the UK election said, "We have one world not seven, I want to be in harmony with the people who are affected by the UK around the world and by giving my vote I am helping others have a voice."

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The Use a UK Vote and Give Your Vote campaigns are being organised by the global activist network Egality (www.egalitynow.org.)

UK Press team: +44 7768 553 982,
+44 7404 853 495, +44 7956 813 532
press@egalitynow.org

Osama Qashoo, Afghanistan co-coordinator
osama@giveyourvote.org
+44 (0) 7833 381 660

Clemmie James, Bangladesh co-ordinator;
Clemmie@egalitynow.org;
+88 01751 645 418

Agnes Agyepong, Ghana co-ordinator
agnes@giveyourvote.org
+233 2485 52 59 39

giveyourvote.org
giveyourvote.org/facebook
twitter.com/giveyourvote
egalitynow.org

ENDORSEMENT FROM ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU
"I have lived through apartheid in my country. In our struggle against injustice, we didn’t fight for hand-outs. We fought for an equal voice and for the power to make our own choices.

We are now facing a global apartheid, in which the richest dominate global decision-making, often to the detriment of the poorest.
Many of the problems we face in the world are interconnected. Pollution in one country becomes devastating floods in others, making millions homeless. A banking crisis in one corner of the world quickly engulfs us all. Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will impact cities far away, with repercussions that fracture our global community.

But who decides how we address these problems? Sidelined from the decisions are those who live on the frontlines of climate change, poverty and war.

We need to rethink our politics for today's world. We must strive for a global democracy, in which not only the rich and the powerful have a say, but which treats everyone, everywhere with dignity and respect.

I support Give Your Vote because it is exciting, brave and emphasises our common humanity. It is a radical call for a world where all human beings have an equal say in the politics that affect them."

GIVE YOUR VOTE has seen:

* Thousands of posters lining the streets of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ghana depicting the three party leaders and the slogan ‘Use a UK Vote”

* Questions from communities directly affected by UK decisions on war, climate, trade and migration have been put to politicians across the country. Video responses are being aired on national television networks in these countries.

* Live local screenings of the Leaders' debate and local responses added to live twitter channels on the site.

2. Thousands of UK voters have pledged their votes to people in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ghana in protest at the lack of democracy in international issues of climate change, migration, poverty and war.

3. Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu has endorsed the campaign, saying "we are now facing a global apartheid. We need to rethink our politics for today's world. We must strive for a global democracy, in which not only the rich and powerful have a say, but which treats everyone, everywhere with dignity and respect." Full endorsement here.

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