On November 15, 2023, one hundred and six nations will vote on an economic partnership agreement between the European Union and members of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States. Under the guise of advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women, the document introduces language on “sexual and reproductive health and rights,” and the implicit promotion of “comprehensive sexuality education,” that essentially undermines the pro-life values and practices of many of these African, Caribbean, and Pacific nations.
Human Life International’s Director of the Mission to the Organization of American States Luis Martinez has brought to light the difficulties that this agreement could present. This pact will deliver serious challenges for life advocates working to reinforce the traditional family values and respect for the sanctity of human life that runs deep through African culture, according to Martinez.
Missionaries and pro-life workers serving in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific will likely be facing unprecedented pressure from policies favoring abortion, promoting inappropriate sex education for youth, encouraging same sex marriage, and granting “rights” related to sexual behavior. Martinez highlighted that the pressure on governments to shed traditional values will make it more difficult for those spreading the Gospel of Life and seeking to sustain pro-family and pro-life legal structures, institutions, and cultures.
This agreement between the European Union and member nations of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States could tip the power of the United Nations to the European Union.
Martinez explained some of the key problems with this agreement, which was in planning and discussion beginning in 2019 and purportedly completed in April 2021. According to a statement from the Namibian government, secret negotiations to amend the agreement continued through 2023.
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“The first danger of this agreement,” shared Martinez, “lies in the implicit ideological influence. This agreement may serve as a platform for promoting and exporting ideologies that are contrary to pro-life and pro-family values. Provisions that endorse or fund activities such as comprehensive sexuality education or the promotion of abortion rights, it can be seen as an attempt to spread these ideologies across borders.”
Martinez pointed out that those individuals in the United States, and around the globe, who believe in the sanctity of life and traditional family structures should be very concerned about the conduit this treaty establishes for facilitating abortion and eroding traditional family structures and values.
The Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and European Union [ACP-EU] agreement involves multiple countries and regions, setting the stage for global impact as a result of a ripple effect, according to Martinez.
“Pro-life and pro-family individuals in the United States who advocate for these values domestically should be concerned over the erosion of these values worldwide,” stated Martinez. “That would ultimately impact their own efforts and advocacy.”
Martinez added that the agreement raises moral concerns.
“Life advocates often base their ethical beliefs on religious, philosophical, and even scientific convictions. If the ACP-EU agreement includes provisions that contradict these principles, such as promoting access to abortion or redefining the concept of family, it can be seen as a direct challenge to their deeply held beliefs. This can lead to the erosion of moral and ethical standards across borders,” said Martinez.
“Additionally,” offered Martinez, “There is an issue of policy alignment. The United States is a major global player with its own policies and positions on issues related to life, family, and culture. If the ACP-EU agreement contradicts or undermines these policies, this could lead to conflicts in international relations. This could impact diplomatic engagements, trade relations, and the ability to globally promote values and priorities.”
“This ACP-EU agreement raises many red flags,” summarized Martinez. “You take the ideological influence, global impact, moral and ethical concerns, and policy alignment issues and add to that a deleterious economic impact on trade relations, the geopolitical considerations of a strengthened relationship between the European Union and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries, and a disruption of the dynamics of international relations in general.” He added that this could disproportionately shift majority influence within the United Nations to the control of the European Union.
A significant factor of the agreement is that it will legally trump sovereignty of various states who might participate.
Several nations, such as Namibia, have stated that they will not sign this agreement. The Sub-Saharan country’s Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah voiced concerns over the lack of definitions for terms within the document, and that more than 80 non-binding regional and international treaties or programs may be elevated to a legally binding position or a treaty status as a result of the document. Even more unsettling, Nandi-Ndaitwah pointed out, is that this agreement commits the participating countries to full implementation of future outcomes of conferences (e.g., Beijing Conference and the International Conference on Population and Development), results that cannot be predicted in advance.
For the ACP-EU agreement to fail, at least 27 countries must choose not to sign it. At present, Namibia has been openly joined in its rejection of the agreement by only three others: Hungary, Poland, and Uganda.
In order to educate governments and their officials to the inherent risks of this agreement, Human Life International has implemented various lobbying strategies. Human Life International’s work at the 1st African Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Family Values and Sovereignty resulted in the April 2023 Entebbe Declaration on the Post-Cotonou ACP-EU Treaty. The governments of Poland, Namibia, and Uganda have officially denounced the abuses of this treaty, in response to Human Life International advocacy. Bishops, ambassadors, and ministers on all five continents have received Human Life International education and guidance exposing the ACP-EU agreement’s threats to life, family, and national sovereignty.
Access the complete Partnership Agreement Between [The European Union / The European Union and its Member States], of the One Part, and Members of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific States, of the Other Part here.
Read the Republic of Namibia Ministerial Statement by Hon. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation – Consideration on the Signing of the New Partnership Agreement (NPA) Between the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) here.
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