Socioeconomic rights in the age of pandemics: Covid-19 large-scale lockdowns have exposed the weakness of the right to work

Article


Radavoi, Ciprian N. and Quirico, Ottavio. 2022. "Socioeconomic rights in the age of pandemics: Covid-19 large-scale lockdowns have exposed the weakness of the right to work." Journal of Human Rights. 21 (1), pp. 73-90. https://doi.org/10.1080/14754835.2021.1971071
Article Title

Socioeconomic rights in the age of pandemics: Covid-19 large-scale lockdowns have exposed the weakness of the right to work

ERA Journal ID35562
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsRadavoi, Ciprian N. and Quirico, Ottavio
Journal TitleJournal of Human Rights
Journal Citation21 (1), pp. 73-90
Number of Pages18
Year2022
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1475-4835
1475-4843
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/14754835.2021.1971071
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14754835.2021.1971071
Abstract

Large-scale lockdowns imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic may amount to a breach of the right to work in its quantitative component: the right of everyone to have at least the opportunity to find a job. Given the current diminution of the job market with the advent of artificial
intelligence, and taking into account the systemic risks to employment in the global economy, the right to work’s “minimum core”—a concept enshrined in the social, cultural, and economic rights doctrine—could be affected by policies leading to mass unemployment. Even if lockdowns do
not affect the core of the right to work, to be acceptable, they must be the least restrictive policies required by the circumstances, which has to be decided by a careful balancing of the alternatives. This article argues that countries that chose to “go early and go hard” might have circumvented
the balancing requirement.

Keywordscovid-19; human rights; right to work; lockdown
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020480307. International humanitarian and human rights law
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Byline AffiliationsCharles Darwin University
University of New England
Australian National University
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