Respect for human rights and democracy cannot be taken for granted. It is crucial to make use of any opportunity to empower individuals and organisations and promote a culture of human rights. With this in mind, DRI is implementing an EU-funded project Promoting Human and Labour Rights through GSP+, running from February 2017 through February 2020.
GSP+ stands for Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus. The scheme allows eligible developing countries to pay fewer or no duties on exports to the European Union. It is part of the EU’s wider GSP scheme, but offers additional trade incentives. A country’s GSP+ status is dependent upon its ratification and implementation of 27 international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection, and good governance.
DRI recognises the opportunities created by the GSP+ in terms of opening new channels and innovative paths to support democratic institutions and to inform and empower citizens so they can actively participate in politics.
The project aims to support and empower civil society in monitoring the relevant conventions under the GSP+ process and to support the implementation and reforms necessary for beneficiary countries to meet their commitments under the scheme.
The four main clusters of activities are raising awareness, building capacity, convening stakeholders and conducting global analysis across and within the scheme’s beneficiary countries, namely: Armenia, Bolivia, Cabo Verde, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
In Armenia through the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, the project aims to strengthen the capacities of Armenian regional CSOs in producing high-quality, evidence-based alternative reports to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The deadlines for the upcoming submissions to UN Human Rights Treaty bodies January 22, 2019 (CRC), and May 30, 2019 (ICCPR).
In Bolivia through the Centro de estudios para el desarrollo laboral y agrario (CEDLA), project activities have a general approach aiming to analyse the context, increase awareness, and create a monitoring platform to increase the level of utilisation of the GSP+ both as an economic opportunity and a leverage to improve the compliance with human and labour rights. In terms of issues, socio-economic rights and labour rights will be specifically addressed.
In Cabo Verde the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is supported to 1) Improve the NHRC capacity to follow up on the recommendations provided by the UN bodies on the compliance with the Conventions; 2) Raise CSOs’ awareness of the conventions and build their capacity to collect and process data and prepare reports and recommendations on human rights issues; and 3) Strengthen capacity and skills of the inter-ministerial commission on human rights to improve the government ability to comply with its reporting duties on the relevant conventions.
In the Kyrgyz Republic through the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, project activities are to 1) Raise CSOs’ (especially those outside the capital) awareness on the conventions and build their capacity in data collection, advocacy techniques, preparation of reports and recommendations on human rights issues; 2) Create a working group of CSOs on GSP+ to monitor the implementation of the relevant conventions, engage with relevant stakeholders, and contribute to the GSP+ discussion in the country; 3) Increase the awareness of the general public on the conventions, highlighting the relevance of human rights for people’s daily life; and 4) Participate in a training programme on GSP+ for the business community in different provinces to raise awareness on the HR component of the GSP+ scheme (in coordination with the EU Delegation).
In Mongolia through Globe International Center, the project focuses on 1) Awareness raising: workshop for CSOs and an awareness raising campaign organised to increase awareness of GSP+ and the relevant human rights conventions; 2) Capacity building: trainings for NGOs and media organised to increase their knowledge on GSP+ and learn from each other’s experiences in engaging with international human rights mechanisms and empower their monitoring capacity; 3) Monitoring: DRI will assist a monitoring team to develop the methodology; and 4) Convening stakeholders: advocacy meetings with relevant stakeholders; town hall meetings to foster discussions on the GSP+ issues and intentional conventions and obligations of the authorities; and a national forum to make the results of the monitoring and the identified recommendations public.
In Pakistan through DRI’s Islamabad Office, the project aims to 1) Increase understanding among civil society organisations (CSOs) and social partners about the mechanisms of the GSP+ scheme and its conditions; 2) Create spaces for multi-stakeholder dialogues and to formulate recommendations on the compliance with human rights and labour conventions related to GSP+; and 3) Provide support to the National Human Rights Commission.
In Paraguay through Centro de Análisis y Difusión de la Economía Paraguaya (CADEP), activities have a general approach to analyse the context, increase awareness, and create a monitoring platform to increase the level of utilisation of the GSP+ both as an economic opportunity and a leverage to improve the compliance with human and labour rights. In terms of issues, socio-economic rights and labour rights will be specifically addressed.
In the Philippines through the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), the project focuses on 1) Capacity building for CSOs, human rights defenders (HRDs) and the Human Rights Commission at the national and regional level; 2) Creation of monitoring working groups on GSP+ related conventions; 3) Production of reports and recommendations; and 4) Awareness raising and advocacy campaigns on the conventions.
In Sri Lanka through DRI’s Colombo Office, the project aims to 1) Increase understanding among CSOs and social partners about the mechanisms of the GSP+ scheme and its conditions; 2) Create spaces for multi-stakeholder dialogues and to formulate recommendations on the compliance with human rights and labour conventions related to GSP+; and 3) Provide support to the National Human Rights Commission.