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Parliamentary questions
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28 February 2019
Question for written answer E-001104-19
to the Commission
Rule 130
Lola Sánchez Caldentey (GUE/NGL)

 Subject:  Pakistan's violation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
 Answer in writing 

Pakistan is a beneficiary of the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences+ (GSP+) trade programme, which grants tariff reductions to developing countries after ratifying and effectively implementing 27 core conventions that cover good governance and human rights. One of the obligatory conventions is the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Its Article 15(1) sets out that: ‘States Parties shall accord to women equality with men before the law’ and its Article 16 stipulates that the States Parties are to take measures to eliminate discrimination against women in marriage, divorce and family law.

Unfortunately, in Pakistan, women and men are not equal in marriage, divorce, custody rights and inheritance, which is in direct violation of CEDAW. For example, women must request permission for a divorce from an Islamic family court, whereas men do not have to go through this arduous process.

Considering that the Commission completely omitted this information from its January 2018 report on the assessment of Pakistan’s GSP+ status covering the 2016‐2017 period:
1. Why did the Commission omit this information from its report?
2. What concrete steps, if any, has the Pakistani Government taken to address this legal discrimination?
3. Will the Commission consider re-evaluating Pakistan’s GSP+ status in accordance with the GSP+ regulations, if Pakistan continues to violate CEDAW?
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