Business and human rights

UN visit postponed due to lack of public servants

The United Nations had planned a 10-day visit to Luxembourg. It was postponed, at the last minute, indefinitely. Photos: Shutterstock

The United Nations had planned a 10-day visit to Luxembourg. It was postponed, at the last minute, indefinitely. Photos: Shutterstock

A long-planned visit of the UN working group on business and human rights, which should have taken place from 18 to 28 July, was postponed at the last minute by the Luxembourg government. The government cited the unavailability of civil servants as one of the reasons.

The tone of the UN press release suggests a certain form of irritation. For Luxembourg, it is in any case not glorious publicity, especially as the country is a member of the Human Rights Council until 2024.

The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights was to make its first visit to Luxembourg. The aim was “to assess efforts to identify, prevent and address the negative impacts of business operations on human rights and the environment”. The visit was planned well in advance between the parties.

However, the visit was postponed at the request of the Luxembourg government, “at the last minute”, the UN press release stated. On 12 July, the visit still seemed to be on the agenda, according to an email that Delano’s sister publication Paperjam was able to consult.

The reason for the postponement is puzzling: Luxembourg is said to have mentioned “the unavailability of officials (‘fonctionnaires’)”. This visit “would have been the first visit of a Special Procedures mandate holder to Luxembourg, which has a standing invitation to the Special Procedures and was recently elected a member of the Human Rights Council and therefore has increased responsibilities to cooperate with the human rights mechanisms,” the UN noted.

Discussions are underway to find new dates for this visit. This will probably not happen immediately, “given the existing commitments of the Working Group to visit other countries in 2022 and 2023”.

The ministries of state and foreign affairs had not yet responded to Paperjam’s requests for comment at the time of publication.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.