European Foreign Affairs Review

Volume 22 (2017)

Volume 22 (2017) / Issue 3

Carmelo Danisi, 'Promoting Human Rights Through the EU External Action: An Empty ‘Vessel’ for Sexual Minorities?' (2017) 22 European Foreign Affairs Review, Issue 3, pp. 341–356


Sexual minorities’ rights are increasingly included in the EU internal as well as external agenda. While the EU normative framework and its internal developments seem to be dominated by the value of equality, doubts arise on the rationale underlying the EU external action. All institutions are indeed involved in this field. While the Commission is called to monitor issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity in accession countries, the Council has issued specific Guidelines and the EU Parliament has in turn raised specific concerns in its dialogue with African partners. Although these attempts are welcomed for stressing the need to protect a ‘vulnerable’ group in countries where they have no guarantees, a ‘selective’ non-discrimination approach seems to emerge in most actions having an external dimension. This approach contradicts the EU internal developments and may eventually risk being ineffective and counterproductive for targeted people. Considering the international trend in human rights law towards the recognition of the full spectrum of human rights irrespective of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, this article posits the need for a significant change in the EU external approach in this field.

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ISSN: 1384-6299
ID: EERR2017029