Employment, housing, health, education, social protection and welfare rights: the European Social Charter – often referred to as the Social Constitution of Europe – is celebrating its 60th anniversary as a guardian of fundamental social and economic rights. The Charter, together with the European Convention on Human Rights, are the two basic constituent parts of Europe’s system for the protection of human rights. The Charter places specific emphasis on the protection of vulnerable persons such as elderly people, children, migrants and the disabled.
“Social rights are a fundamental part of the overall system of collective guarantees for human rights protection in Europe. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted growing social inequalities in our societies. The Council of Europe’s Social Charter helps member states counter this trend by supporting the development of social rights systems which are effective even in times of crisis”, said Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić ahead of the anniversary.
As a Council of Europe international treaty, the Charter opened for signature in Turin (Italy) on 18 October 1961.The 60th anniversary will be celebrated by a high-level panel at the Palais de l’Europe (room 2, webcast link), on 18 October (10h30 -12h45). This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Revised version. The Secretary General will deliver a welcome statement. Opening statements will be provided by Péter Szijjártó (Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe); Rik Daems (President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe); Nicolas Schmit (European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights); Dunja Mijatović (Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe). A panel discussion will follow with high-level panellists from the Council of Europe, the European Union, and United Nations (programme).