Ploumen urges resource-rich countries to join human rights initiative

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen is calling on resource-rich countries to sign up to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs). She announced this at the annual meeting of this multi-stakeholder initiative, whose members include countries, NGOs and gas, oil and mining companies. Members pledge to respect human rights while protecting energy and mineral extraction companies against attacks and theft.

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen with Professor John Ruggie.

‘Let’s do our best to bring this initiative to the countries where problems in the mining and drilling sectors occur most,’ said Ms Ploumen. She expressed her satisfaction that the number of members was growing. ‘Virtually every major multinational in oil, gas and mining has joined. And that in an industry that faces major Corporate Social Responsibility and human rights challenges every day.’

In the margins of the annual meeting, Ms Ploumen spoke with Professor John Ruggie about the implementation of the new human rights chapter of the OECD guidelines for multinationals. He developed the framework on which the new chapter is based. According to Ms Ploumen, the Voluntary Principles serve as an example of how these guidelines can be put into practice.

At the annual meeting, the chairmanship of the Voluntary Principles passed from the Netherlands to Switzerland. Country members include Canada, Colombia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Australia joined last month. NGO members include Human Rights Watch, Oxfam and IKV Pax Christi.