Karin Lukas

April 4, 2023

Professor Karin Lukas is Principal Investigator of an Austrian Science Fund “FWF” bilateral research project on human rights of solo-entrepreneurs, including platform economy workers. She is an expert regarding the interactions between different human rights systems and institutions with a focus on the wider Europe, as well as in the translation of human rights standards into activities of business, trade, development cooperation and climate change. Her research focuses on human rights in the (digital) economy, sustainable supply chains and corporate accountability, as well as human rights in Europe with a focus on gender equality. Her latest monograph is the first comprehensive article by article commentary on the European Social Charter. 

She was visiting professor and fellow at CEU, Strasbourg University, University College London, and the University of Manchester as well as senior researcher at the University of Vienna and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights. Since 2000, Karin has been a consultant for various national and international organisations, such as the UN Development Programme, MIGA (World Bank Group) the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and companies in various sectors. In 2011, she was appointed as a member to the European Committee of Social Rights of the Council of Europe and was President of the Committee until 2022. She is also an expert on labour issues nominated by the European Union regarding the Bilateral Trade Agreements with the Republic of Korea, Colombia and Moldova. Karin is co-editor of the European Yearbook on Human Rights and member of various scientific advisory committees. 

Until February 2023, she was head of department and senior researcher at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights, leading the programme lines “Business and Development Cooperation” and “Social Justice”. At the Institute, she was responsible for the teams, strategy, funding and research contents of the programme lines and inter alia led the framework contract with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) on human rights, governance and peace-building, undertaking numerous consultancies for ADA and its coordination bureaus in the partner countries. 

Karin’s latest publications include The European Social Charter, An Article by Article Commentary, Edward Elgar Commentary Series; Taking Stock of the European Social Charter at 60: The European Social Charter and Equality, Labour Law and Social Security Review 4/2021; The normative framework of the EU’s commitment to Human Rights: the Treaties, the Charter, Member States Constitutional traditions, and International Law (with Chiara Altafin and Manfred Nowak), in Chané et al. (eds.) The European Union and Human Rights, Oxford University Press (2020); Corporate Liability for Trafficking in Human Beings: Gaps in Application and Ways Forward (with Julia Planitzer, Nora Katona and Barbara Linder), Journal for Trafficking in Human Beings, Vol. 2, Nr. 1, June 2018; and Corporate Accountability (with Astrid Kutzreba, Barbara Linder and Claudia Sprenger), Edward Elgar Publishing 2016. Her book chapter Gender Equality within the Framework of the European Social Charter (with Colm Ó Cinnéide), in: Frontiers of Legal Thought, University of Pennsylvania Press, was published in 2023. 

Based on her recent research project on social rights and COVID-19, Karin together with her colleague Vincent Perle published several policy briefs on the gender impacts of COVID-19, responses of the European welfare states, impacts on persons with disabilities, on age, the right to housing, and Long Covid (in German).

In 2022, Karin started working together with the Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights and NHP law firm on Guidelines regarding the implementation and effects of the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive in Austria. This will be one of the first publications on the Directive in Austria.  

Among her recent public talks and lectures are “Freedom and Precariousness: European Social Citizenship and the Platform Economy” at Trento University in January 2023, the Keynote “Europe and Social Responsibility at the BRL Business Forum 2022 in Hamburg, and “The Right to Social Security” at the NGO Forum Social Fundamental Rights of the Austrian Ombudsman Board.

As President of the European Committee of Social Rights, Karin participated in numerous conferences and meetings, inter alia a high-level meeting on the contribution of national human rights institutions to human rights monitoring, an academic conference on stocktaking regarding the European Social Charter, and exchanges of views with the Committee of Ministers (highest political body of the Council of Europe) on Charter achievements and challenges. 

She was cluster leader in the FP-7 research project FRAME (EU grant) and principal investigator of a number of research projects, such as “Business and Human Rights: Extrajudicial Complaint Mechanisms”, “Corporate Liability regarding Trafficking in Human Beings for the purpose of Labour Exploitation and Access to Effective Remedy” (all funded by FWF) and “Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Asylum-Seekers” (Jubilee Fund of the Austrian National Bank). She received an FWF Elise Richter Excellency grant for her research on economic, social and cultural rights in Europe. 

Karin holds an LL.M. in Gender and the Law (Washington College of Law, American University), an E.MA. in Human Rights and Democratisation (University of Padova/EIUC) and a PhD in Law (University of Vienna, magna cum laude).  


Building: Vienna, Quellenstrasse 51
Room: D316