ISLAMABAD - European Union and Pakistan are celebrating 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations and friendship.

The EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore just concluded his three-day Pakistan visit, said a EU statement

During the tour, Gilmore held wide-ranging meeting with the Pakistan government officials, civil society representatives, human rights activists, religious minority representatives and media workers in Islamabad and Lahore.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between European Union and Pakistan.

Gilmore called on President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, Advisor to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, and Minister of Law and Justice Dr Farogh Naseem as well as the Chairperson National Commission for the Status of Women Nilofar Bakhtiar at the National Commission For Human Rights Pakistan in Islamabad.

Eamon Gilmore held a public talk at the Islamabad Institute of Strategic Studies to highlighting the centrality of human rights in EU foreign policy and underlining that EU engages globally on the bases of partnership and respect for human rights values “Human Rights don’t belong to any state but to people everywhere in every country” he said.

In Lahore Gilmore also discussed labour rights and human rights related issues with the business representatives and civil society organisations.

He recognised the progress made with the introduction of new laws including the Anti-Rape Law, Anti-torture law, Anti-Harassment at workplace law, Journalist Protection Bill, significant reform on the death penalty and no execution for the last two years and inheritance provisions for women, but urged the Pakistan government to continue the implementation of laws to make real progress for everyone in society.

EU Special Representative for HR concludes Pakistan visit

The EU Special Representative raised three areas for focus including labour rights. “Women earn less than minimum wage in the textile industry, a sector that heavily benefits from the GSP+ programme. Child labour and bonded labour, which possibly increased owing to the pandemic, must be addressed immediately,” said the statement.

Secondly on education, it said: “Large numbers of children are out of school and are being placed in a cycle of disadvantage while the society misses the untapped potential of skilled and engaged citizens.”

Thirdly, the focus will be on meeting the criteria for compliance with GSP+ conventions that span across human rights, labour rights, environment and good governance.

Eamon Gilmore concluded his final day with a visit to the Badshahi Masjid recognising the importance on interfaith harmony as EU and Pakistan celebrate 60 years of diplomatic ties.