Communications News: Y Care in campaign to reform Honduran gang member laws

Y Care International has launched a campaign to overturn a law in Honduras that puts gang members in jail for up to 12 years.

The law, which came into force in August 2003, means that people found to have body tattoos bearing an allegiance to gangs are sentenced to between four and 12 years in prison.

The charity, which champions disadvantaged children overseas persuaded, 15 MPs at the recent Liberal Democrat and Labour Party conferences to stamp their hands with fake Latin American-style tattoos to back the cause.

"Current 'anti-gang' laws are arbitrary and target young people across the board, rather than targeting causes of gang violence and crime," said Matthew Jackson, the charity's campaigns co-ordinator.

Bill Rammell, a foreign office minister with responsibility for Latin America, has promised to write to the Honduran Government to ask it to repeal the law and replace it with one that reintroduces young people into society through positive education and employment programmes.

Y Care has also started a petition to persuade the UK Government to pressure its Honduran counterpart to pass the alternative law.

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