Martijn Scheltema is committed to improving human rights in a business context

In addition to being a professorĀ at Erasmus School of Law, Martijn Scheltema is also a practising cassation lawyer atĀ the Supreme Court and a lawyer and partner at Pels Rijcken. In addition to expertise in the field of cassation and arbitration, Scheltema is the chair of the Business Human Rights Practice Group of his firm.

As an expert in the field of business human rights, Scheltema recently devoted himself to the development of human rights in three specific ways.

The impact of artificial intelligence on human rights

On 15 April 2021, Scheltema was appointed as co-coordinator of working group 1 of the Policy Development Group (PDG) of CAHAI, the ad hoc committee of the Council of Europe in the field of human rights and artificial intelligence. The committee examines the feasibility of a legal framework and other measures for the development, design, and application of artificial intelligence based on the Council of Europe's standards on human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. As part of the PDG, Scheltema has prepared a report on methods for determining the impact of artificial intelligence on human rights. The report contains guidelines on how to assess the impact of artificial intelligence applications on human rights, how human rights can be used as an indicator to assess the impact on the rule of law and democracy, and how impact research can support other regulatory measures.

No actualisation with legislation alone

Scheltema participated in a hearing on public oversight and Dutch and European due diligence legislation in the field of human rights, organised by the Social and Economic Council (SER). Scheltema was involved as an expert, following research commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Erasmus University into possible legislative options for those affected by human rights violations by companies.

The hearing, which focused on the design of public oversight of human rights due diligence legislation, showed that the expectations that exist in politics as well as among civil society organisations and businesses about human rights legislation within business cannot be achieved with legislation alone. Both the design of supervision and the degree of latitude that supervisors are given are essential. Also, effective cooperation in sectors must continue to be stimulated.

Development of initiatives in the banking sector

In addition, Scheltema has been appointed as a member of the High-Level Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance, established by the Dutch Banking Association. This Panel is committed to developing initiatives that will bring about change for those affected by human rights impact associated with banking activities.