European Parliament reaffirms commitment to respectful relationship with ACP countries, including human rights

Responding to a statement by parliamentarians from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, the European Parliament reaffirmed the importance of working jointly against all kinds of intolerance, including on grounds of sexual orientation or religion.

European Parliament logoMembers of Parliament from the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states had previously issued a non-binding unilateral declaration, stating that the “phenomenon of homosexuality” threatened the peaceful relationship with the EU, and called on EU countries to “refrain from any attempts to impose its values which are not freely shared”.

The statement was a political move, and contravenes Article 8.4 of the revised Cotonou Agreement:

The dialogue [between EU and ACP states] shall focus, inter alia, on specific political issues of mutual concern or of general significance for the attainment of the objectives of this Agreement, such as the arms trade, excessive military expenditure, drugs, organised crime or child labour, or discrimination of any kind, such as […] other status.

A response statement by Members of the European Parliament agrees that inter-religious intolerance must be addressed. It further states that however, “the principle that human rights clauses are non-negotiable and should be reinforced.”

MEPs also “reassert that the principle of non-discrimination, inter alia including on the basis of sexual orientation, will not be compromised in the ACP-EU partnership.”

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