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30 Apr 2020

Benjamin Fox, Euractiv

New human rights laws in 2021, promises EU justice chief

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European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, announced on Wednesday (29 April) that he will next year introduce legislation on mandatory sustainable due diligence for companies as part of the Commission’s 2021 work plan and the European Green Deal.

Speaking during a European Parliament webinar, Reynders told EU lawmakers that DG Justice will launch a public consultation on the initiative in the coming weeks, before tabling the legislation in the first quarter of 2021.

The legislation, which the Commission will frame as part of its Green New Deal and its plans to achieve carbon neutrality, is set to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for human rights abuses and environmental damage linked to corporate operations, subsidiaries or value chains.

Although the details will be haggled over the remainder of 2020, Reynders promised that the new law will require companies to carry out checks on their supply chains and look at risks that their activities may be harming human rights...

Reynders gave assurances that the new law, modelled on the French ‘duty of vigilance’ law which requires companies to show a ‘duty of care’ in their operations, investments and supply chains, will offer access to remedy for victims and strong enforcement mechanisms...

The plan has the strong support of the German government, which will hold the next six-month EU presidency from July...