DRI has been active in Pakistan since 2010 when it opened its first project office in Islamabad. Between 2010-2013, DRI’s work in Pakistan focused on fostering a stronger electoral process ahead of the 2013 general elections. While still engaged with Pakistan’s electoral process, DRI’s involvement in the country has greatly expanded in the past few years. DRI is now extensively engaged with local governments, working to build their capacities to effectively utilise the authority with which decentralisation has mandated them. Through the incentivising framework of GSP+, moreover, DRI is working with civil society and other social actors to ensure the effective implementation of Pakistan’s international labour and human rights commitments.
Democratic Stability Through Responsive Elected Institutions
In response to the recent devolution of powers in Pakistan, this project aims to build the capacities of elected representatives in Pakistan’s four provinces to deliver effective reforms related to the civil and political rights of their constituents. DRI conducts trainings on best practices, holds public consultations, facilitates multi-party summits, develops toolkits on best practices as well as monitors and assesses local government elections. Through these engagements, DRI helps to increase dialogue, enhance the skills of parliament and political parties, and increase the knowledge of political parties, government and CSOs about how to improve the political participation of women, youth and minorities in local government.
Supporting Pakistan’s compliance with the GSP+ Scheme
In 2014, Pakistan entered the European Union’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), providing the country with preferential trade access to EU markets on the condition that it ratify and effectively implement 27 core international treaties. Within the context of this important opportunity to improve the condition of human rights in Pakistan, DRI helps to build domestic constituencies and political will for human rights reform. The project provides technical support to state bodies as well as engages with civil society and the public to increase demand for GSP+ compliance. Thus far, the project has succeeded in generating an unprecedented multi-stakeholder dialogue on human rights in Pakistan, thereby helping to create an enabling environment for the formation of the National Council for Human Rights. The project has also helped to create self-sufficient civil society working groups in each province that focus on the socio-political participation of women, youth and minorities.
Improving Parliamentary Performance in Pakistan (IP3)
IP3 is an EU funded project led by the British Council. As a consortium partner with the British Council, DRI focuses on the project’s effort to increase the capacity of the Pakistani parliament to promote international human rights standards.
With Pakistan’s ratification of numerous international human rights treaties, IP3 provides support to the members of relevant committees to enable them to effectively ensure compliance with these crucial commitments. This assistance includes the provision of information about human rights, guidance on research and the facilitation of events related to human rights. DRI also provides support to parliamentarians and relevant committees to enable them to pursue electoral reforms based on international electoral standards. These standards provide an objective framework for improving the integrity of electoral processes. The project team has also conducted framework analyses for the elections in Sindh, Punjab, FATA and Islamabad.