European Parliament express concerns on lack of gay rights provision in trade treaty
The European Parliament has agreed to a new multilateral treaty with Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific regions (ACP), but with strong reservations about its lack of human rights protections in relation to sexual orientation.
The Cotonou Agreement governs diplomatic, trade and aid relationships between the EU and 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states.
It was last amended in 2010, and all EU and ACP member states must now ratify it.
In a resolution adopted last week, the European Parliament gave its legal consent to the amended treaty, but expressed “its strongest reservations about parts of the Agreement which do not reflect the position of the European Parliament and the values of the Union”.
British Labour MEP Michael Cashman, rapporteur for the European Parliament on the subject said: “The article on political dialogue wasn’t reworded in accordance with the Parliament’s wishes. The ACP side opposed including sexual orientation in the treaty, which is worrying since 38 ACP states still criminalise homosexuality.”
“The European Commission must now use the next two years before the third revision of the text to make progress on this crucial point.”
The Parliament has “urged all parties to revise the unsatisfactory clauses” in the update due in 2015,” including the explicit introduction of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation”.