ALDE: Fight against discrimination and persecution of homosexuals

Don’t use “cultural difference” to support homophobic speeches or legislation

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) in the European Parliament has asked the EU institutions, Member States and international organisations to step up the fight against discrimination and persecution targeting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons.

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, the anniversary of the deletion of homosexuality from the World Health Organisation’s list of sicknesses.

“This anniversary is the right moment to transform words into actions,” ALDE President Guy Verhofstadt said. “The Hungarian Presidency of the EU Council though has not set a good example by discriminating against same-sex couples in its new Constitution approved only last month.”

Louis Michel, co-President of the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (EU-ACP) Joint Parliamentary Assembly, told the plenary session on 16th May in Budapest that no one could invoke the pretext of a “cultural difference” to support homophobic speeches or legislation.

“I have raised with MEPs and MPs from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries the issue of LGBT rights, calling for a stop to State persecutions that include in some countries the criminalization of homosexuality, and even death penalty. What unites two men or two women together is of the same nature as what unites a man to a woman. This link belongs to human nature and should therefore be unconditionally respected, in ACP countries as well as on European soil.”

Olle Schmidt, ALDE coordinator for the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly added: “A frank and open dialogue is the basis of the EU-ACP partnership. We are politicians, not diplomats. As ALDE we believe that it is time for the EU to make its cooperation with third countries, including ACP countries, conditional on concrete progress in terms of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy. This includes ending persecution of LGBT persons and abolishing the death penalty. We cannot accept political discourse or actions at the expense of the lives of LGBT persons as happened in Uganda last week with the anti-homosexuality bill, which fortunately failed due to international pressure.”

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