Jagland: Austerity measures should not harm social and economic rights

Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, wants governments and international organisations to ensure austerity measures do not harm social and economic rights.

The Secretary General said: “The need to protect everyday rights for workers and non-working people is a core European value which becomes all the more important when times are tough”.

“International organisations – including the European Union – must take individual countries’ obligations under the charter into account when discussing austerity measures.”

The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) will publish tomorrow (Wednesday 29 January) its annual conclusions for 2013.

These show some 180 violations of the European Social Charter, a social and economic counterpart to the European Convention on Human Rights, across 38 Council of Europe member states.

According to the ECSR, the increase in violations of the charter is increasingly linked to inadequate levels of social benefits – disproportionately affecting the poor, the unemployed, the elderly and the sick – and to unequal treatment of migrants under the guise of combating “benefit tourism.”

Jagland added: “The information to be published shows that the economic crisis and austerity policies have clearly had a negative impact on social and economic rights across Europe.

“Benefits are being restricted and people moving between countries to live or find work are often being unfairly treated.

“All Council of Europe member states should ratify the latest version of the European Social Charter and also sign up to the complaints mechanism which helps to make sure it is put into practice.”

The ECSR publishes annual conclusions on the extent to which laws and practices in member states are in line with their obligations under either the 1961 European Social Charter or the 1996 European Social Charter (Revised) – depending on which version of the charter they have ratified.

The annual conclusions for 2013 – looking at provisions of the charter relating to health and social protection – will be published on the ECSR website at 12h (CET) on Wednesday 29 January.

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