The Centre for Strategic Perspectives (CSP) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organised a Public Talk titled, “Centrality of Human Rights in EU Foreign Policy,” on February 23, 2022. Mr. Eamon Gilmore, European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights was the Guest of Speaker for the event.
In her introductory remarks Dr Neelum Nigar, Director, CSP, welcomed the guests and said that Human Rights is very important subject and needs more discussion.
While in his welcome remarks Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General, ISSI, said that human rights is a topic on which the people in Pakistan are becoming more conscious about. There still a lot that needs to be done by Pakistan to fully implement the human rights conventions it is signatory to.
In his talk, Mr. Eamon Gilmore said that it has been 60 years since the diplomatic relations between the EU and Pakistan were set up and it is one of the longest and most valued one. EU takes the view that human rights are universal and belong to all people. He said that EUs foreign and human rights policy is motivated by prevention of great wars from happening again and to eliminate phobias present in the European societies.
Mr. Gilmore also said that EU is a unique form of cooperation between 27 different countries having varied political, economic, and cultural interests and are bonded by treaties and conventions. From the outset, human rights played a very important role in the formation of the EU and is important for its foreign policy also. He further added that EUs foreign policy is an independent policy and is not borrowed from any country or bloc and is based on strategic autonomy.
Mr. Gilmore stated that every trade agreement the EU signs has a human rights clause in it and different countries are given concessions under trade preferences. One such preference has been given to Pakistan in the form of GSP+. EU-Pakistan relations revolve around governance, democracy, and law. He added that some legislations with regards to religious minorities and labour laws still need to be worked on to protect human rights violations in the country.
Mr. Gilmore concluded by saying that Pakistan has shown commitment to continue working on human right conventions and both the EU and Pakistan need to keep working on common causes and issues of mutual interests.
Later, an interactive session was held which was moderated by Ambassador Chaudhry who also concluded the session with a vote of thanks to Mr. Gilmore. At the conclusion, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood Chairman BoG, ISSI presented a memento to the guest speaker Mr. Eamon Gilmore.