General secretary of ACP States Mohamed Ibn Chambas (L) and EU commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs (R), talk prior to EU negotiations with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) nations on revising a development agreement signed in June 2000 in Cotonou at the EU headquarters in Brussels.
Talks with 78 developing nations on revising the 2000 Cotonou Agreement, which mainly concerns trade and political cooperation, became bogged down over EU calls to end discrimination against gays.
The EU wanted revisions to development agreements between European and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) nations.
Instead European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, alongside an ACP delegation, on Friday initialled the "partnership agreement" first signed in June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin, and revised five years ago. It contains a compromise which makes reference to universal human rights declarations which forbid discrimination on the grounds of race, opinion, sex or "all other situations," Piebalgs told reporters.
It is due to be formally signed in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in June.
Other revisions centre on calls for an improvement in the distribution of development aid and tweaking trade components to lessen barriers to ACP countries.
Agreements also aim to tackle the proliferation of small arms and the threats posed by organised crime, and people and drugs trafficking.
An ACP diplomat said on Thursday that the 78 nations wanted the question of immigrant returnees to be dealt with in bilateral deals, country by country, rather than as part of Cotonou.
Edited to add: Gay Jamaica Watch comments that Piebalgs said in a BBC Caribbean interview that whilst no action or sanctions will be taken at this time on any of the member ACP states who may breach the understanding of sexual discrimination, if dialogue does not work the EU may move 'to the next step'.
Gay Jamaica Watch said:
The problem with this is that many states especially Jamaica may walk away from this thinking that the European Union is dictating what it wants and using economic might and aid to impose the homosexual agenda as had been repeatedly said by some local economists, politicians and commentators. Many have actually said that if aid or economic assistance should come from the European Union or by any other foreign body that included any hint to or demand for gay rights that Jamaica in particular should reject such assistance. The ordinary man is made to believe that the European Union and others are trying to homosexualize predominantly black nations and the rhetoric associated with this believe is often pushed by those who ought to know better, many in a bid to popularise themselves on radio, television or other mediums including parliament are used to push the anti gay agenda.
The Rastafarian community too has often used this belief in their rhetoric as well often combining the Catholic Church hinting at the recent set of paedophile cases with priests worldwide. They often juxtapose it to the biblical prophecy that the anti Christ will come from Europe and will be gay and want to enforce homosexuality on the rest of the world. I am sure that as this news makes its way to the mainstream media the discourse will commence on the very beliefs as hinted to above reinforced.
These European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries development agreement discussions have been happening since 2002 under the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, today’s discussions were to update the agreement as the gay rights issues was never actually really agreed upon at the previous sessions.
Most African, Caribbean and Pacific countries use this issue of gay rights to hold on to political power as we have seen here in Jamaica and other states. No sooner had the Jamaica Labour Party come to power in 2008 the Prime Minsters utterances on the BBC’s show Hardtalk where he went on the offensive outlining “Not in my Cabinet” hinting to no gays in his government when he was questioned by the then host whether he would have a gay person in his team. This act helped to sure up some lost ground post the election, but it was short lived as his own member Ernie Smith on his side lambasted gays as violent and rude at first it looked like a wonderful public relations gimmick to further portray the new administration as carrying the popular view but it did not go down well and soon backfired as the public, commentators, newspapers through their editorials and members from academia found it repulsive by virtue of his behaviour, choice of words and using the protection of parliament to discriminate against a group of citizens.
A little history folks