Diplomatic: (Germany’s Commissioner for HRP concerned about lifting of death penalty moratorium)

ISLAMABAD: Christoph Strässer, Member of German Parliament and Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, visited Islamabad and Lahore from Sunday till Wednesday.

During his four day visit to Pakistan, he met Tariq Fatemi (Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs), Nadeem Riyaz (Additional Secretary, MOFA), Mr Ashtar Ali (Special Assistant to the Minister for Law, Justice and Human Rights) and several ministers (Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada, Punjab Minister for Human rights and minorities affairs Khalil Tahir Sindhu, Finance Minister Punjab Mian Mujtaba Shuja ur Rehman, and the Minister Commerce Punjab M Ch. Mohammad Shafique as well as human rights activist, civil society members, religious leaders and high-ranking journalists. Strässer raised several human rights issues during his official meetings.

These included the situation of religious and ethnic minorities, religious freedom and freedom of expression as well as women’s and children’s rights in Pakistan. Mr. Strässer especially emphasized the importance of social and labour rights in the context of Pakistan’s commitment to fulfilling GSP+ conditions.

Furthermore, Mr Strässer expressed deep concern about the lifting of the death penalty moratorium. At a conference on Wednesday in Lahore on “GSP Plus and Challenges of Labour Compliance” of the German Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) he stated: “I am disappointed by the decision of the Pakistani government to completely lift the death penalty moratorium. Capital punishment is inhuman and is no deterrent. I urge our Pakistani partners to reconsider this decision.”

Germany abolished death penalty when the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in 1949. All EU-member states have abolished death penalty and advocate world-wide abolition of death penalty.

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