The Parliamentary Assembly of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, meeting at its 35th Session in Strasbourg, France on 14 and 19 March 2014,

Having regard to the European Parliament Resolution of 13 March 2014 on initiating consultations to suspend Uganda and Nigeria from the Cotonou Agreement in view of recent legislation further criminalising homosexuality in the two countries;

Having regard to the Resolution on challenges to the democratic accommodation of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity in ACP and EU countries, adopted by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Prague on 4 April 2009 (ACP-EU/100.460/09/fin);

  1. Whereas as many as 76 countries in the world consider homosexuality a crime, with 5 countries foreseeing the death penalty for such crimes;
  1. Considering that one of the universally held cardinal principles of democracy is to accept differing opinions on matters of principle and that democracy and human rights do not allow forceful imposition of unilateral points of view by one country over another sovereign country;
  1. Whereas the laws passed in Uganda and Nigeria were proposed by democratically elected Parliaments, and complied with all the necessary legislative procedures, including consultations with a cross-section of their populations;
  1. Conscious of the need to respect the rule of law and the right of sovereign governments and their democratic institutions, notably their legislative institutions to reflect and respect the will of their people

  1. Whereas a number of Member States of the European Union among which, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, as well as other countries such as the United States of America and Norway have decided to either withhold aid directed to the Ugandan Government or redirect aid away from the government to civil society;

  1. Whereas homosexuality is already punished with a 14-year prison sentence under section 145 of the Uganda Penal Code Act, enacted by the British colonial government; with 7 year imprisonment under section 214 of the Nigerian Criminal Code, enacted by the same British Colonial government;

  1. Whereas the right of a society to determine its own moral values and norms must be understood as a fundamental human right under principle of sovereign protection;

  1. Recalling that ACP countries have consistently respected the right of the EU and other countries to determine, defend and legislate for their own cultural values and norms, such as laws outlawing polygamy, which are, on the contrary, permissible in many ACP states;

  1. Whereas recent developments have indicated that while ACP countries have exercised their democratic right to defend their cultural values and traditions which form the bedrock of their social development and ethics, the European union has exerted pressure on them to disregard the wishes of the majority of their people in the name of democracy and human rights as they perceive it;
  1. Regrets the deliberate application of double standards in addressing democracy and human rights issues as manifested in the reaction of the European Parliament in relation to the issue of sexual orientation and homosexuality in ACP Countries;

  1. Recalls that in ACP countries these have not been issues of controversy amongst their own people who have co-existed with such differences on the basis of established social behaviour and acceptable standards of decency;

  1. Reaffirms its rejection of any attempt to pressure the ACP countries into accepting values contrary to the wishes and aspirations of their peoples; and regards such attempts by the EU as running counter to the values of parliamentary democracy which it espouses, and having nothing to do with the Cotonou Partnership Agreement;

  1. Regrets that some ACP countries are being punished for observing and upholding the generally acceptable norms in their societies;

  1. Urges the EU to accept that at this time, there is no common ground between itself, and Uganda and Nigeria on the question of sexual orientation and homosexuality;
  1. Calls upon the EU to respect the democratic processes of sovereign States and to refrain from taking action which could undermine the basis of its development partnership with the ACP Group, including the attainment of the objectives of poverty eradication and sustainable development, and to desist from tying sexual orientation and homosexuality to development aid and cooperation; and
  1. Instructs its President to forward this Declaration to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA), the Pan-African Parliament, the European Commission, the EU Council, the European Parliament, ACP national parliaments and Governments, in particular to the Governments, Parliaments and the Presidents of Uganda and Nigeria and the African Union.