Jean Asselborn on the subject of “Business and Human Rights”


On 15 July 2020, the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, met with representatives of civil society and the private sector to discuss the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the second edition of the National Action Plan (NAP 2), which the government adopted at its meeting on 11 December 2019.

The objective of these two meetings was to continue, at ministerial level, the dialogue with all parties interested in the “Business and Human Rights” dossier and to have an exchange of views on the upcoming phases in the implementation of Luxembourg’s international commitments in this regard, and more particularly the 20 concrete actions foreseen in the National Action Plan (NAP 2).

As a reminder, in 2011, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously approved the “UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” in its resolution 17/4. The main objective of these non-binding principles is to uphold, protect and fulfil human rights and fundamental freedoms in business. In the same spirit, the OECD and the International Labour Organisation have also adopted principles for multinational companies.

In 2018, the Luxembourg government, aware of its international commitments to human rights, committed to implement the above principles and adopted on 22 June 2018 a first National Action Plan (NAP 1) for the period 2018 to 2019.

The Business and Human Rights Working Group, chaired by the Ambassador-at-Large for Human Rights, works under the authority of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Human Rights. It brings together representatives from the public sector, national human rights institutions, the private sector, civil society, trade unions and academia, and was set up in 2017 to develop and implement the NAP 1. It is now in charge of implementing the twenty concrete actions of the NAP 2.

Minister Asselborn took the opportunity of these meetings to thank all the partners – civil society, the private sector as well as the University of Luxembourg – for their commitment as well as for their continued interest and constructive spirit during the work of the working group.

“This work has allowed Luxembourg to be among the very few countries that have already produced two editions of their National Action Plan”, Minister Asselborn noted.

“The COVID-19 crisis and the economic crisis that followed show once again the relevance of the work on the ‘Business and Human Rights’ dossier. Indeed, at a time when the situation calls for strict sanitary measures and extraordinary economic recovery efforts, human rights must be given special attention. Whether it is at the level of the right to decent work or along international supply chains, it is important to ensure that human rights do not bear the brunt of exceptional crisis management measures which may be necessary, but which must be proportional, adequate and limited in time”, continued the head of Luxembourg’s diplomacy.

Press release by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs