Here is the original post I carried on the Cotonou Agreement and the African Caribbean States angle on refusing to budge on LGBT rights issues.
Meanwhile June 2010
The Gay and Lesbian Rights Intergroup reports that sexual orientation was excluded from the second revision of the Cotonou Agreement in violation of the European Parliament's directive. The Cotonou Agreement delineates political and trade relations between the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states and includes human rights requirements.
Out of 79 ACP states, 49 criminalise homosexuality with up to 14 years in jail, and up to 5 punish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people with death.
European Commissioner Andris Piebalgs previously intended to include non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the new terms (as demanded by the European Parliament), but finally agreed to conclude a deal with ACP states that does not mention the human rights of LGBT people, despite blatant increases in state-supported violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the ACP region.
Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, reacted: “This is unacceptable for the European Parliament. The Commission backed down in the face of governments that increasingly discriminate, imprison, torture and kill people because of their sexual orientation. It is a dangerous signal that there is a hierarchy of rights: some will be defended, but others will not. This matter will not be left to rest here.”
Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, concurred: “I would have expected Commissioner Piebalgs not to give in to pressure from ACP governments. His abdication is not only against European values, it also is harmful to LGBT people in ACP countries who are confronted with the notion of homosexuality being ‘un-African’—a notion proven wrong by historians and sociologists. The European Parliament will confront the Commission with this decision.”
The revised agreement has been tentatively agreed upon, with the official signature planned for June 2010 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Here is the European Parliament resolution of 20 January 2010 on the second revision of the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement (the "Cotonou Agreement"). Notice the directive in item 32.
32. Calls for negotiations to reinforce the principle of non-negotiable human rights clauses and sanctions for failure to respect such clauses, inter alia with regard to discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation and towards people living with HIV/AIDS;
In Article 8 of the second revision of the Cotonou Agreement (pdf) on Political dialogue, sexual orientation is missing (See page 5).
4. The dialogue 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, organized crime or child labour, or discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
In Article 31 of the second revision of the Cotonou Agreement (pdf) on HIV/AIDS, sexual orientation is missing in sections d and e (See page 17).
d) addressing gender inequality, gender-based violence and abuse, as drivers of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and intensifying efforts to safegaurd women's and girls' rights, develop effective gender sensitive HIV/AIDS programmes and services for women and girls, including those related to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and to support the full involvement of women in planning and decision making related to HIV/AIDS stragegies and programmes;
e) developing supportive legal and policy framewords and removing punitive laws, policies, practices, stigma and discrimination that undermine human rights, increase vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and inhibit access to effective HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support, including medicines, commodities and services for people living with HIV/AIDS and the populations most at risk;
Clearly the deterioration in the human rights situation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the 49 ACP states requires that the Cotonou Agreement follow the European Parliament's directive and include sexual orientation explicitly in the agreement.
To quote the European Parliament directive, this is a "non-negotiable human rights clause."