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Luxembourg: Initiative for mandatory due diligence calls for law to help prevent attacks against human rights defenders & journalists

Author: Luxembourg coalition for a duty of vigilance law, Published on: 13 May 2019

[English summary, full press release available in French here]

Recently, two parliamentary questions were asked (by a Luxembourg MP) on the possible involvement in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi of a Luxembourg subsidiary of the Israeli company NSO.

According to information available on the website of the NSO group, its headquarters are located in Luxembourg. In February 2019, the executives of the NSO group announced that they had acquired the company with the support of the investment fund Novalpina Capital, which also has companies domiciled in Luxembourg.

Research has documented the use of the NSO group's Pegasus spyware to target a wide range of civil society, including at least 24 human rights defenders, journalists and parliamentarians in Mexico, an Amnesty International employee, prominent human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor, and reportedly Jamal Khashoggi.

According to the UNGPs on Business and Human Rights, states have an obligation to protect when third parties, including companies, violate human rights in their territory and/or under their jurisdiction. This requires the adoption of appropriate measures to prevent such violations, and when they occur, to investigate them.

The Initiative for a duty of vigilance in Luxembourg calls on the government to adopt a human rights due diligence law that would require companies to monitor respect for human rights and the environment throughout their value chain. The adoption of such law could help to prevent attacks against human rights defenders and journalists.