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Pak among 14 GSP+ countries shows overall progress
01
Feb '16
All 14 countries granted GSP+ status by the European Union, have demonstrated progress in strengthening their national institutions for tackling human rights, labour rights, environmental protection and good governance, paving the way for further action to effectively implement the international conventions covered by the GSP+ arrangement, the EU said in its review.

Six countries analysed in the report have now exited the GSP+ (Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and Peru), but will continue to be covered by FTAs where Trade and Sustainable Development chapters provide the tools for engaging with them further on these issues.

The GSP+ arrangement has also pushed countries to improve their reporting to international monitoring bodies, including various UN agencies, such as the ILO. Given the capacity and wide-ranging technical expertise such reporting requires, this is a particularly significant achievement, the EU said.

During this first GSP+ monitoring cycle, all countries also engaged in an intensive dialogue with the European Commission, allowing the report to provide a detailed analysis of the functioning of the GSP+ arrangement.

The review highlighted that Pakistan which is one of the 14 countries with GSP+ status, is struggling with widespread human rights violations despite some initiatives that are underway.

The EU noted that some progress has been made in strengthening the institutional framework with a National Action plan on human rights awaiting the Prime Minister's approval. The National Commission for Human Rights was established in May 2015.

The review found that a Commission on the Status of Women which was established in 2000, is still seriously underfunded. A proposal for the establishment of a Commission on the Rights of the Child is still under discussion.

Pakistani provinces are working to adopt provincial legislation to abolish child labour, which remains considerable across the country. For example, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has adopted a law on elimination of child labour and allocated funds to improve labour inspections. In Punjab a bill is pending in cabinet, after which it will be submitted to the provincial assembly for approval. Legislative action is still pending in Sindh and Balochistan.

Similarly, the provinces have made progress on tackling bonded labour, which remains widespread. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has passed an act prohibiting slavery and debt bondage, and the Chief Minister of Punjab has pledged to eradicate both bonded and child labour.

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