December 30, 2010
By Terrence McKeegan, J.D.
BRUSSELS, December 30 (C-FAM) Developing nations recently slapped down attempts by the European Union to add “sexual orientation” to an existing treaty.
Seventy-nine countries from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific islands sent a letter to the European Parliament that is notable for its strong demand that the EU stop pushing its homosexual agenda on developing countries.
The treaty in question is an economic development pact between the developing countries --- acting as the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP) --- and the European Union that allows for the sides to revise the agreement every five years. Earlier this year, during treaty revision negotiations, the EU tried to insert language on “sexual orientation” as a category of non-discrimination. This was repeatedly rejected by the developing nations and was struck from the final version of the revised agreement.
The Secretary-General of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly delivered the letter to the European Parliament in late October. The ACP states that it “is urgently appealing to the European Union to refrain from any attempts to impose its values which are not freely shared in the framework of the ACP-EU Partnership”, a reference to the “sexual orientation” language proposed by the EU.
The letter also noted, “the Partnership can work and be fully functional with due respect for the social differences and cultural diversity of the two Parties.”
In December, some members of the European Parliament issued a defiant response statement to the ACP letter, in which they recalled their support for the inclusion of sexual orientation in the revised treaty. The statement insisted that the “principle of nondiscrimination...including on the basis of sexual orientation, will not be compromised in the ACP-EU partnership.”
Also this month, the European Parliament passed a resolution in December in which the EU reminds Africa that “the EU is responsible for more than half of development aid and remains Africa's most important trading partner”. It later states, in all actions conducted under the terms of various partnerships” that sexual orientation is a protected category of non-discrimination.
Just last week, the United States, with the backing of the European Union, reintroduced language on “sexual orientation” in a UN General Assembly resolution after the language had been voted down in committee. According to various accounts, high-level pressure was put on developing countries that had rejected the sexual orientation language previously to change their votes. In the final vote, dozens of countries that had voted against or abstained from supporting the US amendment switched their votes to support it.
Although this General Assembly resolution has now included the term “sexual orientation” for the past ten years, it is not defined and the term is not found in any binding international treaties. The failure of the Europeans to insert the language into the treaty with ACP is a major setback in a legal strategy that was devised in 2007 to codify sexual orientation and gender identity into international legal agreements.