A diverse section of influential stakeholders, including civil society, parliamentarians, members of state human rights institutions and political leaders have called upon the government for implementing the National Plan of Action on Human Rights.
These views were expressed at the Democracy Reporting International’s national conference titled “Towards Human Rights Compliance; Pakistan’s GSP+ Status and Universal Periodic Review 2017” in Islamabad on Sunday.
Stakeholders termed implementation of the National Action Plan on Human Rights as an opportunity for the maintenance of Pakistan’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status as well as an opportunity to present a better picture at the upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Ina Lepel in her opening remarks stated:
“Pakistan has made progress in the field of human rights. Nevertheless, considerable concerns and many challenges remain, for example with regards to children’s, women’s and minorities’ rights. The Generalized System of Preferences Plus trade scheme with the European Union and Pakistan’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review present unique opportunities to further implement the international human rights conventions which Pakistan is a state party of. Germany will continue to support Pakistan in its efforts to meet the obligations stemming from these conventions for the benefit of all Pakistanis.”
The Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan H.E. Jean-François Cautain stated that GSP+ is an opportunity for Pakistan to promote economic and social progress for improvement in the rights of its citizens. He stated the status remains a win-win situation for Pakistan provided effective utilisation. Welcoming reform efforts undertaken by the Federal government he cited formation of the Treaty Implementation Cell (TIC) and submission of delayed treaty body reports by Pakistan as positive developments.
Providing the government’s viewpoint, the Attorney General of Pakistan and Convener of the Treaty Implementation Cell (TIC) Ashtar Ausaf Ali’s statement recognised GSP+ as a catalyst that is needed for the systematic overhaul of Pakistan’s human rights regime. He pointed out that the government has approved and issued the National Plan of Action on Human Rights and some important legislation such as anti-honour and anti-rape laws recently.
The Chairperson Functional Committee of Human Rights Senator Nasreen Jalil taking the conference agenda forward assured the stakeholders that her Committee will stand by recommendations of the conference in order to ensure the deliverance of rights that are under threat and achieve progress ahead of impending reviews.
The Representative of Democracy Reporting International Hassan Nasir Mirbahar, highlighted that the government has approved an important and ambitious National Plan of Action on Human Rights.