The Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group of states boycotted an European Union event Friday because it was due to discuss how to fight discrimination against gay rights.
Though some members of the so-called ACP group of 79 nations took part individually in the event titled “Discrimination hampers Development”, the group as such refused to join.
“It is wrong not to talk about this,” said EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs. “We wanted to really get engaged with the ACP as a group … but with the group there are some issues, one issue, that is taboo.”
Of the 79 ACP nations, 49 criminalise same-sex relations, said British MEP Michael Cashman.
Piebalgs, who was joined by Cashman and UN rights chief Navi Pillay, announced a new 20-milion-euro package to help fight discrimination, whether based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, belief or race.
The funds will be available for NGOs or civil society groups.
[EU Development commissioner Andris Piebalgs speaks during a press conference on the new initiative to fight against any kind of discrimination in developing countries at the EU headquarters in Brussels. AFP Photo/John Thys]