Item 3: General Debate

Item 3: Presentation of the thematic reports of the Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights followed by general debate. Statement, 25 June 2018.

Check against delivery

As delivered by Minister Counsellor Herborg F. Alvsåker

Mr. President,

Thanks to the OHCHR for reminding all of us of the importance of accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse.  Our discussions are all too often of a principled nature, with limited opportunity to acknowledge that Human Rights are affecting the lives and hopes of individual human beings. 

The report before us emphasizes the role of State-based non-judicial mechanisms.  In Norway, we are familiar with all types; from complaint mechanisms and inspectorates to ombudsmen, mediation boards and arbitration. 

The Norwegian OECD-Contact point for the OECD MNE Guidelines is in the process of being renamed the Norwegian Contact Point for Responsible Business and will include the new complaints mechanism from the ILO MNE Declaration. 

States note the increasing demands that the pressure for responsible business conduct is making on business.  Modern Slavery Act, Loi de Vigilance, Non-Financial Reporting Directive, German NAP, US regulations on conflict minerals – are all examples of national compliance with transnational consequence.  The Access to Remedy dimension should not be lost in this new landscape where lack of due diligence and reporting will be a distinct competitive disadvantage.

The recommendations in the report correspond well with the importance given to access to remedy in the Norwegian national action plan for business and human rights. In particular the Annex will hopefully be a useful resource as  the Government’s implementing the UNGPs and seeking to improve the effectiveness of State-based non-judicial mechanisms.

Thank you.