On 25 September 2023, Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina participated at the event Lady Justice Visiting in the centre of Ljubljana and thus supported the European campaign in favour of the new European directive on careful examination in companies regarding sustainability. Ombudsman Svetina emphasised that he is committed to establishing a strong European legal framework that will protect human rights and the environment. “Companies are obliged to protect human rights and the environment. It too often happens in business practices that questions of respecting human rights and environmental protection are overlooked. Considering the climate crisis, which we have also felt in Slovenia during the recent catastrophic floods, it is clear that companies, too, must immediately change their strategies and operation. It is hence high time that solid legislation is adopted at the European Union level which will demand that companies carefully examine the respect of standards of human rights and environmental protection, insist on accountability from people responsible in companies, and ensure that victims enjoy effective legal protection. I salute the initiative of the Focus Association for Sustainable Development, which has been constantly actively monitoring the negotiations on the European level and bringing the attention of the Slovenian public to it,” said Ombudsman Svetina at the event.
He added that in the process of tripartite negotiations on the European level, he expects the government and the competent ministry to advocate for the adoption of efficient European legislation, even if that requires a change to the national legislation in this field.
Ombudsman Svetina strives for all Slovenian companies in majority state ownership to sign the Commitment to respect human rights in business operations and thus present a good example for all of business and industry. He is also committed to ensuring that the entire public sector, including the state administration, municipalities, and different public offices, adopts the commitment to respect the environment and human rights in their operations. “All employees in the public and private sectors must adjust their actions and decisions to incorporate care for environment and the respect of human rights. In our institution we strengthen new practices in operation on various levels from the perspective of balance between business and private life, and the majority of our employees are involved in hybrid working, while we also contribute to decreasing our carbon footprint with our decisions. After all, we also contribute to environmental protection and green practices by, for example, publishing our annual reports, which comprise approximately 900 pages every year, only in electronic form and not also in print, stressed Ombudsman Svetina.