Месечни архиви: April 2016

Recognition of diplomas and professional qualifications

When moving from one EU country to another or whilst studying abroad, citizens frequently write to the European Parliament to request information about the legislation in force with regard to the recognition of professional or academic qualifications. In particular, they enquire about the administrative procedures and documents needed to get a diploma recognised in another EU Member State.

Recognition of academic diplomas

Happy graduate teenager with hand drawn school icons above his head

ra2 studio / Fotolia

The EU has the competence to support, coordinate or supplement the national actions of the Member States in the field of education (Article 6 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). However, EU countries remain responsible for their own education systems. There is therefore no automatic EU-wide recognition of academic diplomas and national rules on the recognition of academic qualifications obtained in another Member State may differ.

The network of national information centres ENIC/NARIC provides information on national academic recognition procedures and can issue a ‘statement of comparability’ of the university degree or transfer the request received to the national competent authority.

Further information is available on the Your Europe website at the ‘Recognition of academic diplomas‘ webpage.

Recognition of professional qualifications

In the context of the free movement of professionals, Directive 2005/36/EC sets up the legal framework for the recognition of professional qualifications.

This Professional Qualifications Directive, amended by Directive 2013/55/EC, applies to citizens wishing to pursue a regulated profession in a different country other than where they obtained their professional qualifications.

The database of regulated professions contains lists of regulated professions, covered by the directive, in the EU Member States, other European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland.

The directive makes a distinction between temporary mobility and freedom of permanent establishment in another country. It establishes three systems of recognition for permanent establishment: automatic recognition (for seven professions known as ‘sectoral’ professions: architects, dentists, doctors, midwives, nurses, pharmacists and veterinary surgeons), recognition on the basis of professional experience for certain occupations such as professionals in the craft, commerce or industry sectors and a general system to be applied to other professions such as teachers, translators and real estate agents.

Directive 2005/36/EC does not apply to professions ruled by specific legal provisions, such sailors, statutory auditors, insurance intermediaries, some transport operators, lawyers and commercial agents.

Further information can be found on the European Commission webpage regarding the legislation for the free movement of professionals, as well as on the ‘Recognition of professional qualifications webpage of the Your Europe website.

European professional card

The modernisation in 2013 of the Professional Qualifications Directive introduced a new European professional card (EPC), an electronic procedure which aims to manage easily and quickly the traditional qualification recognition procedures.

The EPC is available since 18 January 2016 for five professions: general care nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, real estate agents and mountain guides.

Further information

The fact sheet on mutual recognition of diplomas may also be of interest.

Do you have any questions on this issue or another EP-related concern? Please use our web form. You write, we answer.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/04/11/recognition-of-diplomas-and-professional-qualifications/

EU action in a globalised world: April plenary session

Written by Clare Ferguson,

European Parliament Spring

© Europen Parliament / P.Naj-Oleari

The key debate on Parliament’s agenda for this Strasbourg session week (Wednesday) will be the Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 17-18 March 2016 and the outcome of the EU-Turkey summit – obviously linked to the migration situation in the Mediterranean. Conscious of the urgent need for a holistic EU approach to the crisis, Members will then vote on Wednesday afternoon on a proposal to amend the EU budget to provide a new instrument to finance emergency support within EU territory, with the first Draft Amending Budget of 2016. The first aim of this is to provide fast-tracked, swift financing for urgent relief in a major emergency inside the EU, where significant humanitarian impact is expected. The €300 million of humanitarian assistance available for Member States will support the supply of urgent relief in the form of food, shelter and medicine. Under the same amending budget, the EU intends to increase staffing to enhance counter-terrorism capabilities at Europol. An additional €2 million is earmarked to help achieve a safer Europe for all EU citizens by boosting cooperation with Member States carrying out counter-terrorism investigations.

Regarding relations with Turkey, Members will hear the Council and Commission’s statements on the 2015 country report, also on Wednesday. The debate is likely to confirm that, although challenging, the EU’s partnership with Turkey is crucial to facing the common – and major – problems of counter-terrorism and the migrant crisis. However, regardless of the continuing cooperation, Members will be concerned by the continuing issues regarding freedom of speech in the country, as well as Turkey’s slow progress on implementing the EU acquis.

Results of the Netherlands referendum on the EU-Ukraine association agreement aside, on foreign policy matters, this session will be looking to the east, with the implementation and review of the EU-Central Asia Strategy tabled for Tuesday afternoon. The plenary will hear the Council and Commission’s statements on its 2015 Reports on Turkey, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday. The 2015 report on Albania highlights judicial reform in the country, the completion of which is essential to Albania’s progress towards EU accession. Both the administration and the opposition have undertaken to ensure measures to achieve the necessary changes, despite initial resistance. Local elections in the country in 2015 proceeded largely without incident. Albania hopes to open EU accession talks this year, but must first tackle the five priority areas for entry: in addition to judicial reform, a more efficient public administration is required, as well as ending corruption and organised crime, and increasing respect for human rights, particularly for vulnerable groups such as the Roma population (the subject of a statement in plenary on Monday). There have been positive developments, and the country has stepped up international police cooperation, notably in combating drug trafficking. However, greater measures are required to fight widespread corruption and organised crime and the low number of criminal convictions remains a problem. Whilst Bosnia and Herzegovina’s accession ambitions have been declared to be back on track, the 2015 report is rather less enthusiastic, with criticism of the country’s deeply rooted domestic issues and lack of reform. Here also there are concerns regarding judicial independence, the alignment of legislation with the EU acquis, and freedom of speech issues. High youth unemployment and the parlous state of public finances complete a picture where divisive rhetoric appears to be moving the country further from EU accession.

In the light of the recent revelations concerning offshore investments facilitated by a law firm from Panama, the Commission’s statement on the effectiveness of existing measures against tax evasion and money laundering, and the decision adopted on public tax transparency is likely to gain a large audience. While tax transparency may seem like a simple concept, its scope and design are highly contested. The EU seeks to remedy non-transparent practices like corporate tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning, with a number of solutions including rules to ensure the comparability and quality of company financial information, and registers to identify the real owners of companies. However, wider tax transparency increases the significance of confidentiality and data protection for companies.

Modern globalisation thus has some advantages and some downsides. The plenary will vote on a motion for a resolution on the continued, and worrying, spread of the Zika virus; which although first detected in Brazil, requires careful consideration of the risk of transmission in the EU, particularly once the holiday season begins. Considering the rise in air travel during the summer months, it is timely that the issue of passenger name record data appears on the agenda this session. Should Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs vote to recommend second readings on the proposals for protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data, and the processing of personal data for the purposes of crime prevention, a joint debate will take place on data protection on Wednesday afternoon. It can be expected that the Parliament will continue its consistent efforts to ensure that the proposed PNR directive is compliant with the proportionality principle, and includes data protection safeguards. Personal data protection is also a key area in transatlantic cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs.

Another unfortunate effect of the globalisation of freedom of movement and trade is that companies often relocate and workers lose their jobs. Indeed, unemployment is considered one of the main drivers of poverty within the EU. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund provides assistance in such circumstances. Between 2007 and 2014, the fund has paid out €560 million in favour of some 122 121 redundant workers. Although car manufacturers are among the companies which apply for funding, perhaps new technologies, such as autonomous cars may reverse that trend.

The first reading of the Legal Affairs Committee report on the protection of trade secrets, such as valuable know-how and business information, will take place late on Wednesday. The EU is keen to set new common rules for protecting trade secrets and confidential information, given its importance to businesses and to SMEs in particular. Member State legislation on the matter differs greatly throughout the EU, presenting a key obstacle to the EU Single Market, as companies are reluctant to operate across borders with uneven protection. An EU-wide definition of what constitutes a trade secret will help to protect companies’ assets, but Parliament is equally keen to include safeguards to protect journalists and their sources, as well as whistle-blowers. In the same vein, employees should not see their particular experience and skills considered as trade secrets.

Listen to podcast: Protecting businesses’ trade secrets [Plenary Podcast]

Agriculture is a mainstay of the EU economy, and the animal breeding sector alone is worth €1.89 billion in added value. However, the need for a well-regulated animal breeding sector has resulted in a collection of rules for different breeds. The current legislation covering breeding animals, trade in such animals and their import, is considered to be sufficient. Nevertheless, in the continuing spirit of ‘better law-making’, Members will hear the first reading of a report which proposes to simplify the rules on the zootechnical and genealogical conditions for trade in breeding animals on Tuesday. Turning to fisheries, Members will hear a report on the proposed new international agreement concerning fishing on the ‘high seas’ – a resolution which is expected to break new ground in the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, such as fisheries, in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Renewal of fishing opportunities under the EU’s Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Greenland will also be put to Members.

Members will vote on Wednesday on a motion for a resolution regarding one of the world’s most widely used active substances in herbicides, glyphosate, which is currently the subject of scientific controversy regarding diverging assessments of its carcinogenicity. Parliament’s Environment, Public Health & Food Safety Committee is proposing that the European Commission drop its proposal to renew the authorisation of glyphosate for 15 years.

Finally, of the 28 Members of the European Court of Auditors, ten will be replaced at the end of their six-year term in 2016. Five of the six nominees are new, and each candidate has appeared before the EP’s Budgetary Control Committee to answer MEPs’ questions. Parliament has expressed concern that there continue to be few female candidates among the nominees. The plenary will vote to decide which of the candidates to recommend to the Council as suitable to be appointed.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/04/08/eu-action-in-a-globalised-world-april-plenary-session/

Protecting businesses’ trade secrets [Plenary podcast]

Written by Tambiama Madiega,

On 15 December 2015, Parliament and Council negotiators reached a provisional agreement on a new EU directive setting common rules for protecting trade secrets and confidential information in the EU. On 28 January 2016, the Legal Affairs Committee (rapporteur Constance Le Grip, EPP, France) endorsed the agreed text, which is now to be voted by Parliament as a whole.

Background

Trade secrets and confidential business information

© intheskies / Fotolia

Researchers, companies and inventors often develop technical information (e.g. manufacturing processes) or commercial information (e.g. cost and price information) which is not covered by intellectual property rights but is nevertheless considered a valuable business asset, to be kept confidential. Trade secrets protection seeks to ensure that such information remains secret, and provides remedies against those who disclose it without authorisation. Studies have shown, however, that national laws on the protection of trade secrets differ substantially throughout the EU. The European Commission found this has a negative effect on cross-border cooperation between businesses and research partners, and is a key obstacle in the EU single market. The Commission therefore proposed a trade secrets directive to harmonise national laws and protect European businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), from industrial espionage.

Listen to podcast: Protecting businesses’ trade secrets [Plenary Podcast]

New rules to protect EU companies’ trade secrets

Scope of protection

The compromise text introduces an EU-wide definition of trade secrets (i.e. information which is secret, has commercial value because it is secret, and has been subject to reasonable steps to keep it secret), and requires Member States to offer trade-secrets holders strong civil-law protection against unlawful acquisition, use or disclosure of their confidential business information. A range of tools, including measures to preserve the confidentiality of trade secrets in the course of legal proceedings, and corrective measures (including damages) to redress misappropriation and misuse of trade secrets must be implemented by Member States in their national law. Victims of trade-secrets misuse will therefore gain additional means to defend their rights in courts if their trade secrets are stolen or misused.


EPRS Plenary Podcasts are available to download on iTunes.


Safeguarding freedom of expression and information

The new directive does not affect the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and information as guaranteed by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. In line with the amendments from the EP’s Legal Affairs Committee, the compromise text introduces safeguards to protect journalists and their sources, as well as whistle-blowers. Trade-secrets holders will not have the right to redress if their trade secrets are acquired, used or disclosed to exercise the right to freedom of expression and information as set out in the Charter, to reveal misconduct or other illegal activities in order to protect the general public interest (e.g. environmental protection), or for any other legitimate interest recognised by EU or national law.

Trade secrets and employee mobility

In line with the Legal Affairs Committee’s wishes, the text also clarifies that the new directive will not restrict employees’ rights to change jobs. In particular the new legislation on trade secrets does not protect against the use of the information which is part of the employees’ experience and skills, acquired honestly in the normal course of their employment.

The trade secrets directive sets a minimum standard of harmonisation for the protection of trade secrets across Europe. Some scholars call on Member States to provide for more far-reaching protection. The European Federation of Journalists welcomed the text as amended by the EP but warned that protection of whistle-blowers still needs to be strengthened in the EU.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/04/08/protecting-businesses-trade-secrets-plenary-podcast/

45 years of International Roma Day (8 April)

Written by Sofia López Piqueres,

Flag of the Romani people

AdiJapan / Creative Commons

Recent anti-gypsy* incidents remind us that discrimination against Roma people, although it does not always reach the media, is widespread. An example of this discrimination is the recent incident involving football fans in Madrid, recorded humiliating six Roma women who were begging in the city centre. The video footage of this incident received wide online attention, with the governments of the Netherlands and Spain immediately condemning the behaviour of the football supporters involved. As the 2014 Pew Research Centre public opinion poll shows, a median average of around half of the population of EU Member States surveyed view Roma ‘unfavourably’.

Despite the evident lack of data available to measure progress/regression on Roma inclusion, enough research exists to indicate that a large majority of Roma people (71%) live in ‘deep poverty‘. To tackle this issue, myriad initiatives have been launched, both at the EU level and at national and local level, for instance in the areas of employment discrimination, access to housing, and poor quality healthcare. One such document is the 2011 Communication on an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies by 2020, which was adopted by the European Commission with the aim of contributing to end Roma exclusion by focusing on four key subjects: employment, healthcare, housing and education.

Figure 1: Average estimates of Roma population in selected Member States (2012) In absolute figures (top graph) and as percentage of total population (lower graph)

Figure 1: Average estimates of Roma population in selected Member States (2012)
In absolute figures (top graph) and as percentage of total population (lower graph)

Halfway through the 10-year period (2010-2020) in which the Commission expects to see that objective become a reality, there seems to be a consensus on the slow progress to date. As a 2015 study (commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs) shows, the implementation of the goals set in the National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS) suffers from a persistent ‘lack of political will at all levels’ of Member State administrations. In addition, ‘unrealistic, untailored targets, disconnects between factors such as reporting procedures, and funding or capacity, as well as weak evaluation procedures and the absences of sanctions for non-performance’ also hinder implementation efforts.

A briefing published by the European Centre for Minority Issues in 2015 also points to some of the main shortfalls and hurdles of the EU framework which Member States and EU institutions are trying to overcome. Some of the challenges are posed by the use of the term Roma as a one-term-fits-all, when it is not, in reality, a homogeneous group. Furthermore, there is a lack of coherence between the positions of the EU, Member States and stakeholders and also between the ‘political and empirical perspectives’ regarding ‘Roma’ inclusion.

However, amid setbacks in housing, health and employment and despite the ‘persistence of segregation of Roma children in special schools or classes’, experts show some optimism when it comes to education.

Against this backdrop, International Roma Day is commemorated every year, on 8 April, both to highlight the issues Roma people face but also, on a positive note, to celebrate Romani culture. This year will additionally mark the 45th anniversary of the First World Romani Congress.


*Although this term is used by the EP in its official documents, terms such as ‘Antiziganism’ or ‘Anti-Romanyism’, inter alia, also encapsulate this idea of Roma discrimination.


For a brief overview of the EU Roma policy framework read the EPRS At a Glance publication EU policy for Roma inclusion‘.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/04/08/45-years-of-international-roma-day-8-april/

Testing times for Schengen [Policy podcast]

Written by Alexandra Gatto, Pierre Goudin, Risto Nieminen,

Map of Schengen

Map of Schengen

Over the years, the Schengen system has decidedly brought important economic benefits. The combination of a rising number of asylum-seekers, increasing migratory pressure, security concerns and a fragile economic recovery has put the Schengen area under stress, and called into question its functioning. A ‘wave-through’ approach applied by some Member States led to the creation of a route through the Western Balkans, allowing mixed flows of asylum-seekers and economic migrants to travel across external and internal EU borders. In response, several Member States reintroduced temporary internal border controls to manage increasing flows of entrants. Over the past year, several Schengen countries have temporarily reintroduced controls and serious deficiencies in the application of the Schengen acquis may trigger suspension from Schengen of one Member State. The long-term suspension of Schengen, however, is not foreseen in the current legal framework. The effectiveness of such a measure in terms of addressing the migratory challenge is questionable if not matched with the strengthening of common external border controls, a revision of the Dublin system and the reinforcement of the Common Asylum System. Suspending Schengen may also entail the weakening of police and judicial cooperation on terrorism and organised crime.

Listen to podcast: Schengen area [Policy podcast]

Economic impact of Schengen

In economic terms, re-establishing border controls would hinder intra-European trade and the free movement of people, goods and services. Three main impacts can be identified:

– first, direct costs: the highest and most immediate impact of border controls would be felt by the road haulage sector (€1.7 to 7.5 billion each year), but also by commuting workers (there are 1.7 million workers in the EU who cross a border every day to go to their work), by tourism (between €10 and 20 billion per year), and by the public sector´s finances (more staff would be needed to carry out checks at the borders);

– then, indirect costs, such as a decrease in cross-border movements, a loss of trust by citizens, or even a loss of confidence in the Euro, leading to less foreign investments. Therefore, by 2025 the loss in economic performance of the EU could be between €500 and 1 400 billion;

– finally, a failure of Schengen would also reduce the future benefits of the Single Market and EU integration. Europe is indeed an open economic area with considerable amount of intra-EU trade flows, and thus re-introduction of border controls would affect the whole EU, leading in particular to greater differences in regional job markets and more uneven economic development, including of property prices. Some countries would be more affected. Such a situation could cost the EU economy more than €100 billion in the long term.


EPRS Policy Podcasts are available to download on iTunes.


Despite the challenges it is currently facing, the Schengen area remains one of the great achievements of the EU. A Roadmap to bring Schengen back to functioning by the end of 2016 has been laid down by the European Commission. More extensive reforms however, may be required in the longer term to preserve its benefits on EU’s economy, security and free movement.

Annex Scorecard – Impact of the suspension of Schengen

Annex Scorecard – Impact of the suspension of Schengen

 

 

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/04/07/testing-times-for-schengen-policy-podcast/

Ukraine — in limbo between crisis and transformation? [Policy Podcast]

Written by Naja Bentzen,

Situation in Ukraine

© peteri / Fotolia

When Ukraine’s then President Viktor Yanukovich caved in to Russian pressure and refused to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in 2013, he involuntarily sparked the ‘revolution of dignity’ that paved the way for his own ousting on 22 February 2014, igniting hope for a European future. Today — more than two years after the Euromaidan revolution, Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the eruption of the conflict in eastern Ukraine — the country is still at a crossroads between war and peace; between corruption and reform; between crisis and transformation, between past, present and future.

Listen to podcast:Ukraine [Policy Podcast]

 

Russia launched its hybrid war against Ukraine to prevent the country from moving towards the EU and escaping Russia’s sphere of influence. Since the crisis erupted in March 2014, more than 9 000 people have been killed, nearly 21 000 people have been wounded and 1.1 million have been displaced. Progress in the implementation of the Minsk II agreement — negotiated by the leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia in February 2015 — has been very limited.

At the same time, however, Ukraine has taken several steps towards Europe. The EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Trade Area was signed on 27 June 2014 as part of the Association Agreement (AA) and came into force on 1 January 2016. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced in March 2016 a legislative proposal to lift visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens with a biometric passport would be presented in April 2016.


EPRS Policy Podcasts are available to download on iTunes.


Despite much-needed steps to tackle the country’s endemic corruption problems (the country ranks 130 out of 168 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2015), the reform process is still facing a number of obstacles. Ukraine has been in political limbo since one of its key reformers, Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavičius resigned on 3 February, citing high-level corruption and accusing senior government officials associated with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arsenyi Yatseniuk of blocking reform. Meanwhile, Poroshenko — who has made ‘de-oligarchization’ a focal point of his anti-corruption campaigns — is under pressure after leaked documents suggested that he had set up an offshore company using Panamanian company Mossack Fonseca.

Amid this fluid political situation and given the severe additional external and internal pressure on Kyiv — power outages caused by unprecedented cyber-attacks which are further exacerbating the precarious security situation; the dire economic situation; the on-going aggressive Russian disinformation campaign; the split within the EU vis-à-vis the Russia-backed ‘Nord Stream 2’ gas pipeline; the challenges related to the 6 April Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement; and the 22-year jail sentence given to Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko by a Russian court after finding her guilty of involvement in the death of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine in June 2014, to name but a few — the need for strong democratic institutions is particularly urgent.

Strong support from the European Parliament on Ukraine

The European Parliament has consistently supported Ukraine’s transformation and democratisation process. The simultaneous ratification of the Association Agreement by the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) and the European Parliament on 16 September 2014 was a highly symbolic act and a significant sign of solidarity with Ukraine. In line with the Memorandum of Understanding on a joint framework for parliamentary support and capacity building — signed by EP President Martin Schulz and Volodymyr Groysman, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, on 3 July 2015 — former EP President Pat Cox presented a report and a roadmap on capacity-building for reform on 29 February, kicking off a three-days high-level conference. The ‘Ukraine Week’ brought more than 40 Ukrainian parliamentarians, including the leadership of the Verkhovna Rada, together with MEPs, national MPs and representatives from other EU institutions to share experience on good parliamentary practice, law-making and representation. The next step will be the implementation of the report’s recommendations, which is currently being planned.

Supporting Ukraine’s reform process is key to long-term stability, and the country’s part in the European security puzzle remains crucial. According to US historian Timothy Snyder, the history of Ukraine has revealed the turning points in the history of Europe. He concludes that ‘Ukraine has no future without Europe, but Europe also has no future without Ukraine’. Just like past, future and present are inextricably intertwined, the distinction between the EU and ‘non-EU Europe’, including Ukraine, is — to paraphrase Albert Einstein — only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

Read our briefings on:

Ukraine: What to watch for in 2016

Ukraine and the Minsk II agreement: On a frozen path to peace?

Russia’s disinformation on Ukraine and the EU’s response

Understanding propaganda and disinformation

Timeline on Ukraine Conflict

Timeline on Ukraine Conflict

 

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/04/07/ukraine-in-limbo-between-crisis-and-transformation-policy-podcast/

Renewing authorisation for glyphosate

Written by Didier Bourguignon,

A scientific controversy has recently erupted over diverging assessments of the carcinogenicity of glyphosate, one of the world’s most widely used active substances in herbicides. Against this backdrop, the European Commission has proposed to renew the authorisation of glyphosate for 15 years. A motion for a resolution adopted by the ENVI Committee calling on the Commission to reconsider its proposal is expected to be tabled for plenary vote in April.

Background

© exclusive-design / Fotolia

© exclusive-design / Fotolia

Glyphosate is an active substance used in broad-spectrum herbicides. On the market since 1974, it is one of the world’s most widely used active substances in plant protection products, now accounting for about 25% of the global herbicide market. Research indicates that in 2014, 825 million tonnes of glyphosate were used globally, of which 90% in agriculture. Other uses are mainly for weed control in gardens and non-cultivated areas. The Glyphosate Task Force, an industry consortium, stresses that glyphosate enables higher crop yields and reduced labour requirements in agriculture. Pesticide Action Network, a coalition of environmental NGOs, highlights environmental and health concerns associated with the substance.

Diverging scientific assessments

On 29 July 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization, published a study classifying glyphosate as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A)’ based on ‘limited evidence’ for cancer in humans, ‘sufficient evidence’ for cancer in experimental animals, and ‘strong evidence’ that glyphosate ‘can operate through two key characteristics of known human carcinogens’. Conversely, on 12 November 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a risk assessment concluding that ‘glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans’ based on a ‘large body of evidence’, including ‘key studies not considered by IARC’ that remain unpublished (although industry has recently offered to provide some limited access). The divergences have developed into a major controversy involving scientists and public bodies.

Commission proposal for authorisation renewal

Under Regulation 1107/2009 on plant protection products, pesticides undergo a dual authorisation process: first, active substances are authorised at EU level by the European Commission through implementing regulations (based on a risk assessment by EFSA and an opinion issued by a standing committee of Member State representatives). Plant protection products containing the active substance are subsequently authorised at national level. In October 2015, the Commission extended the authorisation of glyphosate (expiring on 31 December 2015) by six months in order to leave EFSA enough time to take into account the IARC report in its risk assessment, which was finalised in November 2015.

Based on EFSA’s risk assessment, the Commission has proposed a draft implementing regulation, to renew the authorisation of glyphosate for the maximum 15 years. A vote on the standing committee’s opinion scheduled for 7-8 March 2016 was postponed as a result of divisions among Member States. If no qualified majority emerges in the standing committee, the onus will be on the European Commission to decide.

Parliament reaction

On 22 March 2016, Parliament’s ENVI Committee adopted a motion for a resolution objecting to the draft measure, referring, among other things, to the precautionary principle and the need to ensure a high level of protection of health and the environment. It urges the Commission to withdraw its draft implementing regulation, and calls on the Commission and EFSA to disclose all the scientific evidence used in the risk assessment. Parliament is due to vote on the non-binding resolution during the April I plenary session.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/04/07/renewing-authorisation-for-glyphosate/

Journée mondiale de la santé 2016 sur le diabète

Écrit par Nicole Scholz,

Le 7 avril est la “Journée mondiale de la santé”, célébrée chaque année pour fêter la création de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé, en 1948. Le thème phare cette année est le diabète.

Les journées mondiales de la santé, outils de sensibilisation de l’OMS

La Journée mondiale de la santé est l’une des huit journées officielles de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) qui servent à mieux faire connaître une question majeure de santé publique. Cette année, l’accent est mis sur le diabète, avec pour objectifs de renforcer la prévention, les soins et la surveillance. L’OMS compte aussi lancer le premier rapport mondial sur cette maladie.

Le diabète: une épidémie mondiale émergente

World Health Day

© teguhjatipras / Fotolia

Le diabète est une maladie chronique caractérisée par un taux élevé de glucose dans le sang (hyperglycémie). Il y a deux principaux types: le diabète de type 1, dû à une production d’insuline insuffisante par le pancréas et qui se développe en général pendant l’enfance ou l’adolescence, tandis que le diabète de type 2, qui représente près de 90% des cas, résulte de l’utilisation inadéquate de l’insuline par l’organisme et se développe généralement à l’âge adulte. Les deux types peuvent entraîner des complications aboutissant à une perte de la vision, à l’amputation du pied ou de la jambe et à l’insuffisance rénale. De surcroît, les diabétiques courent un risque accru de maladies cardiovasculaires (crises cardiaques, accidents vasculaires). La fréquence du diabète de type 2 est en forte augmentation, y compris chez l’enfant.

L’OMS estime qu’en 2014 environ 9% de la population adulte (âgée de 18 ans et plus) était diabétique. Selon les projections récentes de la Fédération internationale du diabète (International Diabetes Federation, IDF), ce chiffre pourrait atteindre 10% d’ici 2040. Dans l’Union européenne (UE), la prévalence du diabète parmi les adultes (de 20 à 79 ans), en 2013, a été estimée à 6%. Les cas de diabète de type 2 sont, dans une large mesure, évitables. La prévention passe par une réduction des facteurs de risque moyennant un changement des modes de vie. Un régime alimentaire sain, une activité physique régulière, le maintien d’un poids normal et l’arrêt du tabac contribuent à prévenir ou retarder son apparition.

Initiatives de lutte contre le diabète au niveau de l’Union européenne

Conformément à ses compétences en la matière, les activités de l’UE contre le diabète s’articulent autour de la prévention et la recherche, notamment dans le cadre de l’action de la Commission européenne en matière de maladies chroniques. Au titre de son programme de recherche Horizon 2020, l’UE a déjà alloué quelque 140 millions d’euros à une soixantaine de projets d’envergures variés. Des exemples incluent le projet GlucoBeam, un dispositif portable pour l’auto-surveillance glycémique indolore des diabétiques, ou le projet T2DSystems, qui vise à développer un système d’approche en biomédecine sur les risques d’identification, de prévention et de traitement de diabète de type 2. Le Parlement européen a adopté en 2012 une résolution sur la lutte contre le diabète, dans laquelle il invite la Commission à définir une stratégie de l’Union sur le diabète et demande à la Commission et aux États membres d’améliorer la coordination de la recherche européenne sur le diabète et d’en soutenir le financement.


Le groupe de travail sur le diabète (EU Diabetes Working Group, EUDWG) au sein du Parlement européen est coprésidé par Therese Comodini Cachia (PPE, Malte) et Christel Schaldemose (S&D, Danemark). Sa mission est d’améliorer la prévention du diabète ainsi que la santé et la qualité de vie des personnes atteintes de cette maladie, en s’alignant sur les objectifs de la Coalition européenne pour le diabète (European Coalition for Diabetes, ECD). Créé en 2002, ce groupe se veut une plateforme d’échanges entre parties prenantes. Il organise des débats, comme celui, en février 2016, avec Carlos Moedas, commissaire européen pour la recherche, la science et l’innovation, sur la question de comment combler les besoins non satisfaits des patients diabétiques.


 

Lisez cette note sur ‘Journée mondiale de la santé 2016 sur le diabèteau PDF.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/04/06/journee-mondiale-de-la-sante-2016-sur-le-diabete/

Panama papers: A need for global action on tax

Written by Cécile Remeur,

The revision of EU anti-money laundering tools

© Jürgen Fälchle / Fotolia

The practices and policies of taxpayers and tax jurisdictions that make revenues and tax bases opaque, reducing tax bills and resulting in lost resources for countries, have been continuously in the news over recent days. Yet, the ‘Panama papers’, revealed as a result of a joint journalistic investigation (under the auspices of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – ICIJ), differ from previous leaks by the sheer bulk of documents revealing cases covering many taxpayers (individuals) in a wide range of countries. In contrast, previous leaks referred more to aggressive tax planning by corporations.

The leaked documents (11.5 millions) include emails, shareholder registers, bank statements, internal reports, passport scans and company certificates. They cover nearly 40 years of business transiting by a Panama-based law firm showing numerous ways to exploit secretive offshore tax regimes to hide opaque transactions (referring to avoidance, evasion or money laundering). Based on the leaked documents, articles have been published by the journalists participating in the investigation. The available information comes from the journalists’ articles published daily since 2 April 2016. A number of news organisations have created specific webpages on the ‘Panama papers’ (see for instance among the collaborating partners of the ICIJ: Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Guardian, Le Monde, Le Soir, El Confidencial, L’Esspresso).

The ‘Panama papers’, released some at a time, by the press highlight some of the global tax policy issues and challenges. The articles present how the papers reveal the use of offshore structures by individuals which had recourse to the services of the Panama-based law firm at stake. The services include incorporating and administering companies in offshore jurisdictions for fees. Offshore structures are not as such illegal, and some uses are all legal. Yet they can be used for tax avoidance purposes when related funds are not declared or hidden.

The articles draw a shadowy world of financial transactions, which calls for a dire need to increase transparency as a means to tackle the problem. The ‘Panama papers’ confirm that tax avoidance is a global problem, which can be answered by a global response, including all countries. Remaining ‘holdouts’ jeopardise the progress made to reduce secrecy and opacity in order to deter, detect and address tax evasion. Work done, in the framework of the OECD working with the G20, aims at improving the exchange of tax information through a global Common Reporting Standard (CRS) for the Automatic exchange of information (AEOI). Very recently, in his report to G20 finance ministers (26-27 February 2016) the OECD secretary-general informed them that that Panama was back-tracking on its commitment to AEOI.

At EU level, the implementation of the AEOI was adopted in December 2014 as an amendment to the Council Directive 2011/16/EU concerning administrative cooperation in the field of taxation (DAC).

Other aspects are equally important, some of which were also highlighted by leaks such as recently the so-called ‘Lux-leaks’ referring to corporate tax avoidance related to tax rulings. This led to improved legal provisions on information exchange between tax administrations (as a second amendment to the DAC, which is about to undergo a third amendment to implement the BEPS action 13 which provides for a corporate country-by-country reporting).

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/04/06/panama-papers-a-need-for-global-action-on-tax/

Being a LGBTI person in African countries

Written by Eric Pichon, Anne Vernet, 
LGBTI in Africa

© torbakhopperHE_DEAD (CC-BY-ND 2.0)

More than 4 African countries out of 5 of have laws criminalizing homosexuality, or even punishing LGBTI* rights advocacy. Only in 2014 tougher laws were passed in Nigeria, Gambia and Uganda.

As recent developments in Europe show, having non-discriminative laws doesn’t prevent homophobic feeling; but when this feeling is encouraged or not punished by the authorities, it can favour violence towards LGBTI people, including rapes and killings. Furthermore it leads LGBTI people to live in hiding which increases mental or physical health problems among the population.

On several occasions the European Parliament has reminded the EU of its commitment against all forms of discrimination in all the places it acts.

(*LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender; LGBTI stands for “LGBT or Intersex” people)

Overview: the legal framework in African countries

Amnesty International provides a map showing the African countries where homosexuality is illegal, as of January 2014.

More recent and broader in scope,  The State of Human Rights for LGBT People in Africa by Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Human Rights First (July 2014) shows that changes have only been for the worse, but it also traces signs of support from well-known Africans.

Legal provisions concerning homosexual behaviour,  gay rights advocacy, or same-sex marriage were compiled by the Library of Congress – Law Library into a well-documented table for 49 African countries . ( Criminal Laws on Homosexuality in African Nations , 02/2014).

For global aspects, cf BBC’s interactive world map Where is it illegal to be gay? BBC News, 10/02/2014.

 

C-Africa-Agenda-A-Look-at-Gay-Rights-Across-Africa

Focus on some countries

Gambia

In October 2014, a crime of “aggravated homosexuality” was added to the criminal code, and can be punished by life inprisonment.

Gambia Cracks Down on Homosexuality . AllAfrica.com.  A dossier on current issues.

Human rights reports or statements (through ECOI.net)

Kenya

Sex acts between men are illegal under Kenyan statutes and carry a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment, except 21 years in certain aggravating circumstances. In December 2015, President Barack Obama voiced strong support for gay rights in Africa during his trip to Kenya and Ethiopia.

LGBT Rights in Kenya: A Conversation with David Kuria (July 2015)

Uganda

A law adopted in February 2014 – from a former 2009 bill – punishes same-sex sexual relations and their promotion. On 1 August, Uganda’s Constitutional Court declared it “null and void”, because it had been voted without the required quorum. The law might be put to the vote again soon.

Human Rights reports or statements (through ECOI.net)

Uganda planning new anti-gay law . BBC News, 10/11/2014.

Ugandans Celebrate Gay Pride After Anti-Homosexual Law Overturned . Voice of America , 10/08/2014.

Uganda court annuls [February 2014] anti-gay law . BBC News, 1/08/2014.

What exactly does Uganda’s anti-gay legislation say? Vox, 1/08/2014.

Ben Shepherd. The Politics of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Legislation . Chatham House, 24/02/2014.

For the author, the new law imposing life sentences for homosexuality will attract a backlash from international donors, but in the short term, it might well earn Uganda’s President Museveni popular support.

Nigeria

A Same Sex Marriage Act signed in January 2014 – from former provisions – punishes same-sex unions of imprisonment .

Nigerian gets 20 lashes for gay acts . BBC News, 16/01/2014.

UN human rights chief denounces “draconian” anti-homosexuality law in Nigeria . UN News Service Section, 14/01/2014.

Ganiyu Otunba. Enhancing LGBT Rights in Africa: a case study of Nigeria . Uppsala Universiteit, 2014, 52 p.

This research paper demonstrates that popular support for anti-LGBT legislation is mainly due to prejudice conveyed by religious and civil authorities. For example, many people believe that homosexuality was imported by the colonials, although evidence that it existed before the colonial era or in places the colonizers didn’t reach is well documented. The author suggests that awareness-raising will improve LGBT rights in Nigeria.

North African countries

Jayesh Needham. After the Arab Spring: a new opportunity for LGBT human rights advocacy? Duke journal of gender law & policy, 2013 Vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 287-324.

Laurent Ribadeau Dumas. L’homosexualité en Tunisie: bientôt du nouveau ? Geopolis, 12/12/2014.

Although the new Tunisian Constitution has enhanced civic rights, homosexuality is still criminalised in Tunisia. A Facebook initiatie have been launched to abrogate art. 230 of the Criminal Code, which punishes “sodomy”.

Philippe Mischkowsky. Rafle d’homosexuels orchestrée par une journaliste . Courrier international, 9/12/2014.

In Egypt, a country where homosexuality is criminalised, a TV journalist broadcast the images of gay men arrested in a hammam -probably after informing the police herself – and exposed their faces.

O. Harim. Behind the scenes with Algeria’s first LGBT magazine . France 24 blogs, 3/12/2014.

Senegal

Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Senegal.

Pour vivre heureux vivons cachés: etre homosexuel au Sénégal / Libre Belgique (2016)

South Africa, a regional exception?

South Africa is, to date, the only African state recognizing same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, anti-LGBT feeling is far from absent among the population.

Constitutional Change and Participation of LGBTI Groups: A case study of South Africa / IDEA (December 2015)

In 1993 South Africa promulgated its first democratic interim constitution and became the first country in the world to include a prohibition on unfair discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation in its constitution. This discussion Paper considers the history and context in which this groundbreaking development occurred.

Sarah Jean-Jacques. L’Afrique du Sud et la dépénalisation universelle de l’homosexualité: Echec d’un acteur phare des droits humains ? IRIS Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques (France), Mémoire, 15/10/2014, 149 p.

South Africa appears torn on the international stage between its post-apartheid stances as the African human (and LGBTI) rights champion and its desire to maintain its position as a regional leader. This leads the country to promote the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality at the UN while not condemning African countries which make it a crime.

Chi Mgbako. Out in Africa: LGBT Organizing in Namibia and South Africa by Ashley Currier (review) . Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 517–520, 2013. DOI 10.1353/hrq.2013.0018.

A detailed review of a book analysing LGBT activists’ visibility strategy across time in South Africa and Namibia.

Luis Abolafia Anguita. Tackling corrective rape in South Africa . The International Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 489–516, 2012.

Despite a legislation guaranteeing equal rights to LGBTI people, homophobic feeling is widespread in South Africa and, according to the author, the government doesn’t do much to combat it. The author examines how civil society organisations could engage with official consultative bodies such as the Commission for Gender Equality and the South African Human Rights Commission to enforce anti-homophobic legislation.

Three African LGBT activists

The Leading Global Thinkers of 2014: Binyavanga Wainaina , author, Kenya, for revealing a secret to advance LGBT rights in Kenya. Foreign Policy, 11/2014.

Binyavanga Wainaina published I am a homosexual, mum in Africa is a country, 19/01/2014.

Nick Mwaluko (Tanzania, Kenya) writes about LGBTI issues in the Huffington Post.

Cf in particular: DeGaying Uganda. Huffington Post, 8/02/2011,
about David Kato , a gay Ugandan activist hammered to death.

Analyses

Social, political and legal aspects

U.S. Support of Gay Rights in Africa May Have Done More Harm Than Good / Norimitsu Onishi, New York Times, 20.12.2015

LGBT rights in Africa and the discursive role of international human rights law / AM Ibrahim, African Human Rights Law Journal (2015) 15 263-281

The protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation under the African human rights system / Rudman, Annika in African human rights law journal , 2015 vol:15 iss:1

This article explores two main problems: first, how the rights to dignity, equality and non-discrimination should generally be interpreted and applied under the regional African human rights system when related to sexual orientation. Second, it analyses the procedural or other hurdles that may stand in the way of bringing a claim of discrimination based on sexual orientation to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights or the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Equality of LGBTIQ persons in Africa / Heinrich Böll Foundation (March 2015)

How did the lives for African lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans and intersex persons change in 2014? Where are their struggles? An analysis of the progress.

Debating Love, Human Rights and Identity Politics in East Africa: A Socio-Legal Exploration Oloka-Onyango, Joe (May 2015)

This article reviews recent developments concerning the situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Intersex (LGBTI) individuals through legislation and in the East African courts of law, exploring the implications for the wider struggles by sexual minorities for enduring legal recognition and accommodation.

Two French journals dedicated issues to homosexuality in Africa:

Kees Waaldijk. The Right to Relate: A Lecture on the Importance of “Orientation” in Comparative Sexual Orientation Law . Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law, Vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 161–199, Fall/2013.

An introduction to a chair in comparative sexual orientation law, clearly laying down and explaining all the concepts involved in this matter.

Homosexuality and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights: What Can Be Learned from the History of the European Convention on Human Rights? Johnson, P. (2013), Journal of Law and Society, 40: 249–279.

This article explores what those seeking to develop gay and lesbian rights in Africa might usefully learn from the historical evolution of similar rights under the ECHR.

Struggle for equality: Sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights in Africa / Heinrich Böll Foundation  (October 2010)

Public opinion

Africans tolerant on religion, ethnicity, nationality, and HIV, but not on homosexuality, Afrobarometer survey finds / Afrobarometer 1.03.2016

Afrobarometer reports that survey respondents in 33 countries exhibit largely tolerant attitudes toward social differences, with the major exception of homosexuality. Even so, homophobia is not a universal phenomenon in Africa: At least half of all citizens in four African countries say they would not mind or would welcome having homosexual neighbours.

The Global Divide on Homosexuality . Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, 4/06/2013.

In the African countries surveyed, homosexuality is widely rejected:  “Should society accept homosexuality?”  the answer is no for 61% of the interviewees in South Africa; 90% in Kenya, 96% in Uganda, Ghana, Senegal; and 98% in Nigeria.

Uganda’s New Anti-Gay Law: Part of a Broader Trend in Africa . National Geographic (USA), 28/02/2014.

Anti-homosexuality legislation is popular in the African countries where they’ve been passed.

Health

Chris Beyrer. Pushback: The Current Wave of Anti-Homosexuality Laws and Impacts on Health . PLoS Medicine, Vol. 11, no. 6, pp. 1–3, 06/2014.

The climate of fear generated by homophobic discrimination and violence leads LGBTI people to live in hiding and avoid health facilities.

International Institutions’ positions

Several international fora have expressed their concerns about anti-LGBTI provisions.

African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Union’s consultative body)

Resolution on Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations against Persons on the basis of their real or imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender .  African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 55th Ordinary Session, 05/2014.

The ACHPR “strongly urges States to end all acts of violence and abuse, whether committed by State or non-state actors, including by enacting and effectively applying appropriate laws prohibiting and punishing all forms of violence including those targeting persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identities, ensuring proper investigation and diligent prosecution of perpetrators, and establishing judicial procedures responsive to the needs of victims.”

United Nations

Statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity – letter dated 18 December 2008 from the Permanent Representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, France, Gabon, Japan, the Netherlands and Norway to the United Nations, addressed to the President of the General Assembly, signed by [inter alia] […] Cape Verde, Central African Republic, […],  Gabon, […], Guinea-Bissau, […] Mauritius, […], Sao Tome and Principe, […]

“11. We urge States to take all the necessary measures, in particular legislative or administrative, to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention.
12. We urge States to ensure that human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity are investigated and perpetrators held accountable and brought to justice.
13. We urge States to ensure adequate protection of human rights defenders, and remove obstacles which prevent them from carrying out their work on issues of human rights and sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Human Rights Council Resolution on Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity (A/HRC/17/L.9/Rev.1) , 15 /06/ 2011

The UN Council ” express[es] grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Human Rights Council Resolution on Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity (A/HRC/27/L.27/Rev.1) , 22/09/2014

“takes note with appreciation of the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights entitled “Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity” ( A/HRC/19/41 )”

South Africa’s role in these resolutions : analysis in FR by Sarah Jean-Jacques , 17/11/2014.

EU positions

Treaties

The Treaty of the EU commits the Union to promote its respect for human rights in the wider world (art. 3 TEU) this includes prohibiting  discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation (as expressed in the European Charter of Fondamental Rights referred to in art. 6 TEU), in particular in its external relations (art. 10 and 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ).

Council of the European Union

Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons . Council of the European Union, Foreign Affairs Council Meeeting, 24/06/2013.

These guidelines, updating a previous toolkit (2010) indicates the type of conduct to be adopted by EU and Member states representatives in front of anti-LGBTI discrimination, in particular when implementing aid or agreements with foreign countries.

Commission

List of actions by the Commission to advance LGBTI equality / DG for Justice and Consumers (December 2015). See VI External action: LGBTI issues in Enlargement, Neighbourhood and Third Countries.

Through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) , the EU supports several projects defending the rights of LGBTI people. For example, one project empowers civil society to challenge homophobic laws and discrimination against LGBTI people, another one gives legal and medical assistance to individuals imprisoned because of their homosexuality.

EP resolutions

28th session of the UNHRC. P8_TA(2015)0079

The EP “44.  Expresses its concern about the recent increase in the number of discriminatory laws and practices, and of acts of violence against individuals, on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity; encourages close monitoring of the situation of LGBTI people […]; welcomes the UNHRC resolution on combating violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, adopted on 26 September 2014; reaffirms its support for the High Commissioner’s continued work to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by LGBTI people, in particular through statements, reports and the Free & Equal campaign”

The work of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. P8_TA(2015)0035

The EP “15.  Reiterates its deep concern over the adoption and discussion of legislation further criminalising homosexuality in some ACP countries; calls on the JPA to place this on the agenda for its debates”

Situation in Egypt. P8_TA(2015)0012

The EP “17. Expresses its outrage at the intensifying clampdown against the LGBT community in Egypt urges the Egyptian authorities to cease criminalising LGBT people, on the basis of the ‘debauchery law’, for expressing their sexual orientation and for assembling, and to release all LGBT people arrested and imprisoned under this law”

Freedom of expression and assembly in Egypt. P8_TA(2014)0007

The EP “13. […] urges the Egyptian authorities to cease criminalising LGBT people for expressing their sexual orientation and right of assembly”

Nigeria, recent attacks by Boko Haram. P8_TA(2014)0008

The EP “12. Reiterates its calls for the abolition of the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Law, along with sections 214, 215 and 217 of the Nigerian Penal Code, which would put LGBT people – both Nigerian nationals and foreigners – at serious risk of violence and arrest;”

Launching consultations to suspend Uganda and Nigeria from the Cotonou Agreement in view of recent legislation further criminalising homosexuality 2014/2634(RSP)

Recent moves to criminalise lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people 2014/2517(RSP)

The situation in Nigeria 2013/2691(RSP)

The EP “17.  Considers deeply regrettable the adoption of the Same-Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill, which makes it a crime to be in a same-sex relationship, support the rights of LGBT people, operate a gay-friendly venue or display affection between two people of the same sex; calls on the President of Nigeria, therefore, not to sign the law passed by the House of Representatives, which would put LGBT people – both Nigerian nationals and foreigners – at serious risk of violence and arrest”

2010 revision of the Cotonou agreement P7_TA(2013)0273

Parliament gave its consent to the ratification in June 2013, but expressed ‘its strongest reservations about parts of the Agreement which do not reflect the position of the European Parliament and the values of the Union’. Parliament objected, in particular, to the absence of an explicit clause on ‘non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation’

Violence against lesbian women and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons in Africa 2012/2701(RSP)

EU Strategy for the Horn of Africa 2012/2026(INI)

The EP “40.  Stresses that human rights, especially the rights of women, children, LGBT people and religious minorities, have long been neglected in the region, and notes that sectarian Islamism has spread in parts of the Horn of Africa and is threatening minority freedoms”

Uganda: the killing  [on 26 January 2011] of [gay rights activist] David Kato  2011/2573(RSP)

Uganda: the so-called ‘Bahati bill’ and discrimination against the LGBT population 2010/3009(RSP)

Uganda: anti-homosexual draft legislation  2009/2805(RSP)

Member states

Communiqué relatif à l’arrêt dit du « mariage franco-marocain entre personnes de même sexe » du 28 janvier 2015 . Cour de cassation (France), 28/01/2015.

A convention between France and Morocco “provides that, to determine whether marriage is allowed, it is necessary to consider for each spouse, the law of the State of which he is a national”. Same-sex marriage is not allowed in Morocco; nevertheless, the French Court of Cassation stated that ” Marriage between persons of the same sex is a fundamental freedom that an agreement between France and Morocco shall not impede if the future Moroccan spouse has a link with France, as his home.” (unofficial translation)

Le mariage entre personnes de même sexe est une liberté fondamentale à laquelle une convention passée entre la France et le Maroc ne peut faire obstacle si le futur époux marocain a un lien de rattachement avec la France, tel que son domicile.

NGOs

Why gay rights is a development issue in Africa, and aid agencies should speak up / Hannah Stoddart, Oxfam Blog, 9.01.2015

 

 

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/04/05/being-a-lgbti-person-in-african-countries/