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Parliamentary questions
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14 June 2019
Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-001710/2019

The EU places gender equality, the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls and their empowerment at the core of its continuous engagement inside and outside the EU, including in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The EU is using its position as an important trading partner to insist on adherence to international conventions on human rights, including labour rights and gender equality, across the world. This is especially the case for countries benefitting from the Generalised scheme of preferences (GSP)(1).

In the biennial GSP implementation report covering the period 2016-2017(2), the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) outlined a number of concerns related to Pakistan’s implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), including high rates of sexual violence, honour killings, harassment, underrepresentation in politics, amongst others.

At the same time, Pakistan has achieved meaningful progress in a number of areas, such as the implementation of new laws tackling domestic violence and rape, the provision of assistance to victims, and outlawing forced marriages and conversions. The elimination of gender-based violence has also been made a priority in Pakistan’s National Action Plan for Human Rights(3).

All of these issues have been extensively addressed by the Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance (GSP+)(4) monitoring process, as well as under the EU-Pakistan Joint Commission’s sub-group on human rights.

Under the Everything But Arms arrangement(5), the EU has also started an enhanced engagement with Bangladesh to push for aligning with core labour rights and human rights conventions, including CEDAW.

The EU is closely following the situation on the human rights of women in Saudi Arabia, in particular of women human rights defenders who are at risk because of their daily work.


Last updated: 14 June 2019Legal notice