Plenary speech - Launching consultations to suspend Uganda and Nigeria from the Cotonou Agreement in view of recent legislation

Marietje
Marietje Schaake, author - Mr President, Commissioner and colleagues, as the ACP meeting commences in this House, we are forced to take measures in response to the laws which have been adopted in Uganda and Nigeria criminalising LGBTI people and imposing very severe punishments. These laws violate the Cotonou Agreement, and we must use mutually-agreed human rights clauses under Article 96 to deal with this very urgent situation. Fuelled by religious evangelical extremists from the United States, a true witch-hunt is under way, with LGBTIs being criminalised. These laws also hinder the vital fight against HIV and AIDS, and that is why several Member States have already decided to freeze their development aid. Such a move is very disagreeable, but it has been deemed necessary. We must make it clear that it is not our wish to see ordinary people suffering more than they already do in these African countries. Genuine problems that impact on so many people, such as corruption, poor infrastructure, the need for more for development and education, and the need to end violent extremism, should be the focus of our continued active dialogues. We seek to cooperate, but not without sticking strictly to EU values and mutually-agreed treaties to which these African countries have themselves signed up. They must commit to respecting all human rights.