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EU parliament backs sanctions on Nigeria over gay rights

13 March 2014, 21:47

Strasbourg - The European Parliament backed sanctions on Uganda and Nigeria Thursday in protest at their recent passing of anti-gay laws.

MEPs approved a non-binding resolution by a large majority which said that the two countries violated the Cotonou accord on human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, should launch an "urgent political dialogue ... no later than at the EU-Africa Summit" which takes place early next month.

There should be targeted sanctions, such as travel and visa bans, against "the key individuals responsible for drafting and adopting" the laws, the resolution said.

Additionally, there should be a review of the EU's "development aid strategy with Uganda and Nigeria, with a view to redirecting aid to civil society and other organisations rather than suspending it", a parliamentary statement said.

EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski, representing the Commission, told MEPs Brussels already "had very frank discussions with the two countries", with more talks planned.

"The outcome of these contacts will be very important in determining how our relations with Nigeria and Uganda develop under the Cotonou accord," Lewandowski said.

MEPs charged that the laws passed in the two countries amounted to a "grave menace" to human rights.

Last month, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill that calls for "repeat homosexuals" to be jailed for life, outlaws any promotion of homosexuality and requires people to report homosexuals.

Earlier, Nigeria banned same-sex marriage and civil unions while homosexual acts already carry the death sentence under Sharia Islamic law which applies along with federal law in the north of the country.




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