Islamabad, 28 February 2022 (TDI): The EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore concluded his three-day Pakistan visit on Thursday.

During the tour, Eamon Gilmore held wide-ranging meetings with the Pakistan government officials, civil society representatives, human rights activists, religious minority representatives, and media workers in Islamabad and Lahore.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the European Union and Pakistan.

Eamon Gilmore called upon the  President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi and presented the human rights priorities of the EU. He further met with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari, Advisor to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, and Minister of Law and Justice Dr. Farogh Naseem as well as the Chairperson of National Commission for the Status of Women Nilofar Bakhtiar and the Member Punjab Nadeem Ashraf at the National Commission For Human Rights Pakistan in Islamabad.

Eamon Gilmore held a public talk at the Islamabad Institute of Strategic Studies to highlight the centrality of human rights in EU foreign policy and underline that the EU engages globally on the bases of partnership and respect for human rights values “Human Rights don’t belong to any state but to people everywhere in every country” he said.

In Lahore Eamon Gilmore also discussed labor rights and human rights-related issues with the business representatives and civil society organizations. He recognized the progress made with the introduction of new laws including the Anti-Rape Law, Anti-torture law, Anti-Harassment at workplace law, Journalist Protection Bill, significant reform on the death penalty and no execution for the last two years, and inheritance provisions for women, but urged the Pakistan government to continue the implementation of laws to make real progress for everyone in society. 

The EU Special Representative raised three areas for focus: 

1. Labour rights: Women earn less than minimum wage in the textiles industry, a sector that heavily benefits from the GSP+ program. Child and bonded labor, which possibly increased due to the pandemic, must be addressed immediately.

2. Education: Large numbers of children are out of school and are being placed in a cycle of disadvantage while society misses the untapped potential of skilled and engaged citizens.

3. Meeting the criteria for compliance with GSP+ conventions that span across human rights, labor rights, environment, and good governance.

 He concluded his final day with a visit to the Badshahi Mosque recognizing the importance of interfaith harmony as the EU and Pakistan celebrate 60 years of diplomatic ties.

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