Lahbib spoke, in the presence of Princess Astrid, at a symposium on applying the United Nations Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) at the Lowy Institute, an independent think tank. She was received by Belgian-Australian director Hervé Lemahieu.
Lahbib stressed that by creating a common framework to address business-related human rights violations, “the UN Guiding Principles have contributed to bringing about real change.”
The Liberal minister noted that companies have already taken many steps to respect human rights in the workplace. It specifically referred to, among other things, audits and agreements with local communities to reduce the risks of economic activities. “When companies do this, it is not only for ethical reasons, but also because it has a positive impact on their reputation, and we all know how important reputation is to companies,” she said.
Finally, Lahbib said he was convinced “that Belgian and Australian business leaders can inspire each other to strengthen their movements for human rights and sustainable development.”
Tomorrow/Wednesday, Lahbib will meet the Australian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, the country’s capital. In the evening, she finishes her economic mission and travels to the Middle East, fearing the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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