Pakistan has earned significant denunciation from the international community for the continued violation of basic human and women’s rights over many years. The 2017 Global Gender Gap Index, ranked Pakistan 143 out of 144 countries due to prolific and systemic discrimination against women. In a 2018 country report Human Rights Watch commented that local authorities are failing to provide women, religious minorities and transgendered people living in Pakistan with adequate protection from discrimination, government persecution and violent attack. What is clear is that Pakistan has repeatedly failed to fulfil its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and numerous other agreements of which it is a signatory.
French Member of European Parliament, Nicolas Bay of the Europe of Nations and Freedom Group posed a question to the European Council earlier this year (E-001256/2019) which demanded that Pakistan face consequences for its continued negligence and abuse. In his question, MEP Bay explained that “Pakistan continues to benefit…from the Generalised Scheme of Preferences+ (GSP+) programme, despite its failure to effectively implement the requisite 27 core human rights conventions and its poor commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals”.
In order to address this pressing concern MEP Bay proposed three possible avenues. The first is the production of “a transparent and in-depth report that addresses concerns over the monitoring of the effective implementation of human rights commitments”. He recommended that this solution be applied to all nine of the countries currently benefitting from the GSP+ scheme. In his next point, MEP Bay asked if “the Council [could] make the beneficiary countries’ eligibility assessments publicly available, in addition to their GSP+ compliance scorecards, since the Commission is reluctant to provide the information to the public”. Finally, the French representative appealed to the Council to pressure the European Commission to reassess a country’s GSP+ status “when GSP+ beneficiaries are found to be either violating or ineffectively implementing the 27 core conventions”.
The Council formally responded to this question on the 17th of June, 2019. In their response, they site the implementation of EU Regulation No 978/2012, which applies to the scheme of generalised tariff preferences and establishes guiding principles and policy implementation, and reported that they closely follows the Commission’s regular reporting to both the Council and the European Parliament. More specifically the response referenced “the last such report of 4 October 2018 and the Commission Staff Working Document, both of which are publicly available, provide a clear overview of the compliance with and challenges regarding the GSP+ arrangement, including the progress made by Pakistan, in particular on social and human rights indicators, despite considerable challenges that still need to be overcome”.
“As for the beneficiary countries’ eligibility assessment and their GSP+ compliance scorecards” the response continued “the Honourable Member is invited to put this question to the Commission, as it falls within its area of responsibility”. In closing the Council declared that “in the event of human rights violations or ineffective implementation of the 27 core conventions in a GSP+ beneficiary country, the Council can and does call on the government of the country concerned to address the issue; furthermore, the Council may invite the Commission to enhance its monitoring of the situation and to step up its engagement with the beneficiary country, as appropriate. In cases where the situation does not improve, the Council may also consider specific targeted measures.”
These many systems of bureaucracy are clearly imposed to attempt to provide clear and unbiased systems for reporting and accountability, but as human rights violations continue in Pakistan one must ask if they are truly serving the people they are designed to protect. There is a need for increased intervention in Pakistan to protect the women and minorities still suffering under intense persecution and abuse.
Source : https://eptoday.com/pakistan-needs-to-face-consequences-for-violations-of-human-and-womens-rights/