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Government Urged to Establish Human Rights Bodies to Comply With GSP Plus

Adnan Aamir

Quetta: Civil Society Working Group (CSWG) Balochistan for Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) plus status has urged government of Balochistan to establish human rights bodies and bring legislative reforms to comply with GSP+ conditions.

Civil Society Working Group (CSWG) Balochistan made this demand while addressing a press conference in Quetta Press Club, on Monday.

This workgroup represents civil society organizations of Balochistan and was established in aftermath of a round-table conference on “Civil Society’s Role in GSP+ Monitoring and Compliance” organized by Democracy Reporting International (DRI) in April 2015.

Civil Society Working Group members who spoke at the press conference include Saalem Kakar provincial Coordinator of DRI, Sana Durrani chairperson of Today’s Women Organization and Shams-ul-Mulk High rights activist.

Main objective of the workgroup is to monitor the compliance on Pakistan’s international human rights commitments and engage with stakeholders, including the Government of Pakistan, on key reforms required to meet the GSP+ conditions.

European Union granted Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status to Pakistan in December 2013 under which Pakistani products got  duty free access to the European markets. In order to maintain GSP+ status Pakistan needs to ratify and implement 27 International Conventions mandated by UN on human rights, labor rights, climate change, narcotics control and corruption.

Balochistan is far behind in establishing state bodies pertaining to human rights and child rights.

Speaking at the press conference civil society claimed that compliance to 27 international conventions, associated to GSP+ conditions, has a potential to transform entire lifecycle of citizens of Pakistan.

Working group extended its full cooperation to the government for human rights reforms, and other matters to maintain GSP+ status of Pakistan.

It was revealed that CSWG Balochistan has submitted its preliminary report to the EU highlighting key human rights issues generally prevalent in Pakistan and particularly in Balochistan. “The report has been well received and recognized by the EU Mission in Islamabad,” Sana Durrani said.

Sana Durrani said that there is a continued wave of multi-dimensional human rights violations in Balochistan, particularly the violations of civil and political rights, economic rights and civic entitlements associated to the right to life of citizens.

CSWG termed lack of implementation of existing labor laws as the reason for exploitation of the working class in Balochistan.

During the press conference Saalem Kakar also urged Federal Government of Pakistan to speed up the implementation of rights, through legislation, institution-building and democratic engagement.

Group members warned that non-compliance to the 27 UN Treaties, associated to the GSP+ may result in the weakening of trade ties with the EU which is one of the leading trade partners receiving 33% of Pakistan’s exports.

Published in The Balochistan Point on January 25, 2016

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