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Islamabad

October 14, 2018

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Swedish envoy fetes visiting countrywomen

The ambassador of Sweden, Ingrid Johansson hosted a reception at her residence to introduce Ambassador for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law from the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Annika Ben David and Desk Officer, Department for Asia and the Pacific Region, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Louise Bengtsson.

The two visitors are in Pakistan to attend the ‘Justice for Empowerment’ conference dedicated to human rights activist, Asma Jehangir, which will be held in Lahore and they stopped over in Islamabad for a couple of days to meet government and embassy officials. The reception was attended by human rights activists; heads of different NGO’s and a few diplomats from other countries.

The hostess welcomed her guests and introduced the Swedish officials; said a few words about Ambassador Ben David who has a diplomatic background; the purpose of her visit to Pakistan and named a few persons among the guests who are also dealing with human rights.

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Ben David thanked the hostess for her hospitality and giving her the opportunity to meet the guests. Saying she was happy to be in Pakistan, a country she had heard so much about, adding she was looking forward to meeting Pakistani delegates at the conference. “Respect for and the protection of human rights is both a cornerstone and a starting point for Sweden’s value-based foreign policy” she said, adding that greater respect for these principles would also mean vastly increased freedoms and a stronger position for women – and in consequence for society as a whole.

She then went on to highlight that Sweden was the first country to pursue a feminist foreign policy that entails applying a systematic gender equality perspective throughout foreign policy; how important it was that women be included in all aspects of government and other decision making forums.

Showing two booklets on human rights, democracy and the rule of law and Sweden’s feminist foreign policy, she said they provide information on both subjects, while asserting that Sweden is to be a leader in furthering, preventing and influencing development in these areas. These booklets give a comprehensive account of what Sweden does and will do in future and can be useful guideline for forming similar policies in Pakistan, albeit in keeping within its own principles.

In conversation, Louise Bengtsson said since she was looking after the Asia and Pacific region, she always wanted to visit Pakistan because she had read and heard so much about the country.

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