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30 Dec 2013 by Ludwig Boltzmann

The Economic Crisis undermines Social Rights

The Economic Crisis undermines Social Rights
Violations of the European Social Charter across 38 countries

The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) published its annual conclusions for 2013 showing some of 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”.

Greece stands out, said Colm O’Cinneide, one of the 15 members of the Committee: “We have a very clear pattern of serious findings of nonconformity”. The review of Greece outlined charter violations that included inadequate worker safety protections, retirement benefits, unemployment benefits for people with dependents, as well as care support for the poor.

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Jagland 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.”

Karin Lukas (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights), rapporteur on the right to social welfare services, said that access to social welfare was denied to migrant workers in several countries, and that in some countries, it was not possible to appeal against a denial of social welfare services to an independent authority.

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