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Izabela Schiffauer, WSB University of Wroclaw (Breslau) & Łukasz Szoszkiewicz, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland Technological Advancement and the Right to Just and Favourable Conditions of Work: A Business and Human Rights Perspective

Technological progress, digitalization and automation are causing need for new action to effectively protect human rights. Beside threats inherently linked to the technological advancement, the said need results from the historically determined consensus that only States are subjects of International Human Rights Law. As a result, private law entities such as transnational companies avoid liability for human rights violations committed by their foreign suppliers, since they are claiming not to be duty bearers under public international law and domestic law of their headquarters. To counteract such developments, the UN Human Rights Council endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs; resolution no 17/4 of 16.06.2011). International implementation mechanisms include the Working Group of the HRC on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises and the annual Forum on Business and Human Rights. In many countries, plans of action on business and human rights have been adopted. Increasingly legislative measures also ensure the impact of UNGPs. It is widely believed that Principle 17, which requires companies to conduct human rights due diligence (HRDD), is one of the most important tools for ensuring that businesses respect human rights. It remains unclear, however, what specific obligations may arise from this stipulation. Most recently, the advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and so called 'gig economy' (e.g. reliance on short-term contracts and crowdsourcing/ outsourcing information and services) raises issues of human dignity and respect of human rights. Against this backdrop, this contribution will try to take stock of how the exponential growth in technology impacts the universally recognised labour rights and, based on standards developed i.a. by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) and ILO, will attempt to define benchmarks for corporate HRDD related to technological advancement.

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