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

  • Academic Journal
  • Journal of Human Rights. Jan-Mar2022, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p73-90. 18p. 1 Map.
  • 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. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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