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African Caribbean Pacific countries threaten EU summit boycott over gay rights sanctions

The African, Caribbean and Pacific Parliament says it will tell its heads of states to stay away from an upcoming diplomatic summit with the EU if the West goes ahead with sanctions against Nigeria and Uganda over their treatment of LGBTIs
Makhosini Hlongwane
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The African, Caribbean and Pacific Parliament (ACP) of countries that have signed the Cotonou Agreement with the European Union (EU) has threatened to tell the heads of its member states to boycott the upcoming ACP-EU Summit in May if sanctions are laid against Nigeria and Uganda over their treatment of LGBTI people.

A joint ACP-EU parliamentary assembly is currently being held in France and will debate a motion on the suspension of Uganda and Nigeria from the Cotonou Agreement grouping after the EU parliament passed a resolution in support of travel bans on the leadership of both countries and redirecting development aid away from both governments to civil society groups.

The European Union wants to invoke Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement which allows for partner countries to take ‘appropriate measures’ against a signatory who has failed to live up to its human rights commitments under the treaty – with suspension of membership as ‘a measure of last resort.’

Zimbabwe’s representative to the ACP Makhosini Hlongwane told that its members spoke as one when it came to opposing sanctions against countries that criminalize homosexuality.

‘[The] ACP parliament drafted a statement to debate against the decision and is unanimous in rejecting such a motion,’ Hlongwane, who is co-president of the Standing Committee on Political Affairs of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly, said.

‘We now see a dangerous Europeanization of our value system and our culture, tied to development aid.

‘If we do not take steps to stop further incursions into our cultural territory, we are doomed as a people.’

The ACP includes 79 countries and is aimed at strengthening democracy and human rights throughout those regions.

It also includes a majority of the countries on Earth that criminalize homosexuality.

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