Norway's statement on business and human rights & freedom of opinion and expression

Mr. President, 

Norway would like to thank the Working Group for Business and Human Rights for their important contribution to our common endeavor to implement the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. 

States play many roles in the economic sphere, including as owners, legislators and as public purchasers. We support the working groups call on States to demonstrate leadership and to lead by example. States’ ownership policies are particularly important.

The Norwegian government expects all Norwegian companies to demonstrate corporate responsibility, whether under private-sector or public-sector ownership, and regardless of whether their activities are located in Norway or abroad. There is growing awareness that diligent fulfilment of corporate responsibility is conducive to corporate commercial growth.

The government expects companies in which the state has a holding, to work systematically and to be exemplary in their respective fields, both to help to safeguard the state’s shareholder assets and to demonstrate duly ethical conduct.The companies are also expected to actively abide by, and assist in elaborating, best corporate practices in areas of relevance for their business.

Could the chair of the Working Group please elaborate on plans for follow-up of the challenges regarding state-owned enterprises, including in the annual Forum on Business and Human Rights?

Mr. President, 

We welcome the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye.

We find its main theme, the intersection of State regulation, the private sector and freedom of expression in the digital age particularly interesting, and would appreciate if the Special Rapporteur could elaborate on how business could integrate commitments to freedom of expression into their activities including policymaking, product engineering and business development.