KARACHI, May 30 (APP): Chargé d’Affaires of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Pakistan Thomas Seiler has indicated that “GSP+ beyond 2023 is possible for Pakistan” as the country’s government has ensured the EU that all efforts to show compliance with the high requirements would be made.
He was speaking at a conference on “Human Rights Reforms in Sindh – GSP+ and Beyond” organized by the Human Rights Department, Government of Sindh at a local hotel on Monday, according to a news release.
Sindh Minister for Labour and Human Resource Saeed Ghani was the chief guest while Special Assistant to Sindh Chief Minister Surendar Valasai inaugurated the conference, which was attended by human rights activists, government officers of various departments, public representatives, civil society and labour rights activists and minorities’ representatives.
Thomas Seiler said in the next phase of the Generalised System of Preference (GSP- Plus) there would be more international conventions and covenants.
These instruments would pertain to the recognition of the competence of the UN Human Rights Council to consider complaints from individuals, abolish the death penalty and the requirement to recognize the International Criminal Court – ICC (for genocide, crime against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression).
“The final regulation can be expected before the end of the year,” he remarked. He reminded the main duty of employers toward human rights, labour rights and the combat against climate change.
“They will have to respect and implement human rights in their enterprises, and to play an active role in building a sustainable economy and society.” Speaking on the occasion, chief guest Saeed Ghani said the government of Sindh is leading all the provinces in making legislation for protection of rights of labour, women, minorities and people with disabilities.
“We consider the protection of people’s rights as our duty rather an obligation to an international commitment,” Saeed Ghani said adding that the Sindh government has made all the laws on its own as the ruling Pakistan People Party is committed for this cause, he remarked.
“We need support from the international community to provide a favourable environment for the government and businesses to implement the laws,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to Sindh Chief Minister Surendar Valasai said Human Rights Department has developed a Provincial Human Rights Policy with an aim to create compliance with Human Rights obligations in addition to implementing national and provincial human rights framework.
He said Sindh Human Rights Department is working for accomplishment of mission of our Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who is taking keen interests in promotion and protection of human rights.
Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah has recently approved a special grant of Rs. 50 million to Human Rights Department to provide legal to the vulnerable groups in Sindh.
According to him Pakistan’s exports to the European Union have increased from 4.53 billion Euros in 2013 to 7.49 billion Euros in 2019, registering an increase of 65%.
He underlined the need for devising a cohesive strategy by all the stakeholders including the government of Pakistan, provincial governments and civil society so that the country could continue benefiting from trade benefits beyond 2023.
Secretary of Human Rights Noreen Bashir gave a presentation about the performance of the department. She said the department has created Provincial Task Force on Human Rights, Provincial Human Right Vigilance Committee, and District Human Rights Committees.
Noted social worker Faisal Edhi underlined the need to remove religious hate material from the school curriculum for interfaith harmony. He recalled that during his school days the teachers were encouraging discrimination against Hindu students.
Chairperson of the National Commission for Rights of Child (NCRC) Afshan Tehseen recommended increased synergy among the official rights protection commissions, legislation and governments.
Member of National Commission for Human Rights (Sindh) Anis Haroon, Aslam Shaikh, Member of Sindh Human Rights Commission, Superintendent of Police Shehla Qureshi, MPA Kulsoom Chandio, representatives of civil society Sara Zaman and Ambar Shamsi. Speaking on the occasion, the participants gave a number of recommendations for improvement of the human rights situation in the province.
A representative of the minority communities pointed out that nomads and gypsies communities in the interior of Sindh are not counted in the national census.
Issues of discrimination against minorities, problems being faced by transgenders, violence against women and non-implementation of the laws were also pointed out on the occasion.
Most of the participants regretted that a number of good laws have been passed, but they are not being implemented. They underlined the need to universalize the social security services to all the workers.
A documentary produced by noted artist Ayoub Khoso on the human rights situation in Sindh was also screened on the occasion.