European Parliament hears fresh calls for suspension of Pakistan's GSP+ status

On April 28th in the European Parliament, Brussels, a hearing took place to discuss the response - or lack thereof - of the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to an April 2021 resolution by the Parliament itself calling for suspension of Pakistan’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) favoured trading status with the European Union on the grounds of that country’s failure to address human rights abuses, with particular attention on Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws.

In the Parliament resolution, passed by an overwhelming majority and with the support of all political groups, the Commission and the EEAS - currently headed by the Spanish politician Josep Borrell Fontelles - were specifically called upon to act.

The hearing was conducted under the auspices of Member of the European Parliament Fulvio Martusciello and leading Brussels human rights NGO Human Rights Without Frontiers.

Prior to the hearing a series of questions had been submitted to EU Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, Commissioner for Trade, and Executive Vice President of the European Commission for An Economy that Works for People.

The Commissioner’s office acknowledged the questions, and whilst apologising for the fact that he could not personally attend the hearing, has reportedly undertaken to respond to the questions.

The GSP scheme removes import duties from products coming into the EU market from developing countries on condition that they implement 27 international conventions related to human rights, labour rights, protection of the environment and good governance.

The European Parliament has called for Pakistan's status to be suspended due to its continuing human rights violations, singling out the country's controversial Blasphemy laws as being particularly problematic.

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Staff Reporter

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