Pakistan Submits Human Rights Action Plan for GSP Plus Review: Report

Pakistan has submitted an action plan on human rights to the European Union for the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) review.

The country proposed an eight-point National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights (2021-26) at the GSP+ review currently underway in Brussels.

According to The Express Tribune, the plan is designed around 69 actions that deal with the implementation and strengthening of human rights legislation and financial transparency mechanisms.

The priority areas of the plan include financial transparency, corruption, and human rights standards in public procurement contracts; anti-discrimination, equal opportunity and inclusion; human rights due diligence; labour standards and the informal economy; child labour; forced or bonded labour; occupational health and safety; and access to remedy.

Sources said that the scheme, which will extend from 2016 to 2021, was approved in principle by the federal cabinet on 28 September.

The GSP plus is a trade program that removes or reduces import duties from products coming into the European Union (EU) from low-income countries.

In September, the EU proposed a new GSP scheme that ensured more scrutiny over whether countries are adhering to human rights and environmental conditions.

It introduced five new international conventions that countries under the GSP scheme will have to comply with. These address issues such as children’s rights, labor rights, and organized criminal activities.

The EU also added the possibility that it would withdraw GSP status for “serious and systematic violations” of its conventions.

The EU parliament passed a resolution a few months ago that raised concerns over Pakistan’s recent human rights violations, including blasphemy accusations and sectarian violence.

Pakistan’s current GSP plus status will stay in effect till December 2023 unless the EU approves an extension of the scheme.

Source: Pro Pakistani