Tuesday September 26, 2023

EP members call for action against rights challenges

September 25, 2022

Islamabad : Members of the European Parliament urged the Pakistani government to undertake timely reforms and legislative changes on human rights issues for concrete improvements.

They called for determined and structured action, including the swift adoption of laws against torture and enforced disappearances, to substantially reduce the number of crimes carrying the death penalty and to apply the new procedures for mercy petitions. The visitors included Maria Arena (Belgium), Peter van Dalen (Netherlands) and Petras Auštreviius (Lithuania). They're part of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, the visitors were in the country to assess the human rights situation in the country.

The MEPs sympathised with flood victims and called for their early relief and rehabilitation. Officials briefed them on Pakistan’s emergency response, relief activities and its vulnerability to climate disasters. The visitors underlined that the international community must increase its efforts to reduce global carbon emissions and help the countries suffering the most from climate change.

In other meetings, MEPs focused on the human rights situation, against the backdrop of the final round of EU monitoring of Pakistan’s preferential trade access to the EU market under the “GSP+” scheme for 2014-2033 and its preparations for an application to the next GSP system to be determined in 2024.

They met members of parliament and law and human rights ministers and activists and discussed they talked about the criminal justice system, torture and the death penalty, economic and social rights, prevention of domestic violence, and the freedoms of religion and belief and the freedom of expression both online and offline.

The MEPs stressed the need for preventing the misuse of blasphemy laws, by applying safeguards against false accusations and decisive actions to prevent domestic violence, child labour and child marriage. They also visited an Afghan refugee community in the Nowshera district which was affected by the flooding and spoke to them about livelihood and challenges. Maria Arena said the visit allowed MEPs to get an overall picture of the challenges faced by Pakistan when it came to human rights.

"Significant progress and a renewed commitment to genuinely change the situation on the ground are essential for Pakistan to succeed in its application process for post-2023 GSP+. The European Parliament is working hard to adapt the scheme’s human rights requirements and how beneficiary countries and the EU cooperate,” she said.