60th anniversary of the Social Charter: the Social Constitution of Europe

Employment, housing, health, education, social protection and social rights: the European Social Charter – often called the Social Constitution of Europe – celebrates its 60th anniversary as the guardian of fundamental social and economic rights. The Charter, together with the European Convention on Human Rights, are the two fundamental building blocks of the European system for the protection of human rights. The Charter places special emphasis on the protection of vulnerable people such as the elderly, children, migrants and people with disabilities.

“Social rights are a fundamental element of the overall system of collective guarantees for the protection of human rights 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 effective social rights systems even in times of crisis,” said Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić ahead of the anniversary.

As an international treaty of the Council of Europe, the Charter was 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), October 18 (10:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.). This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the opening for signature of the revised version. The Secretary General will deliver a speech of welcome. Opening addresses will be delivered by Péter Sztáray (State Secretary for Security Policy of Hungary); Rik Daems (President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe); Nicolas Schmit (European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights); Dunja Mijatović (Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe). A round table will follow with high-level speakers from the Council of Europe, the European Union and the United Nations (programme).

Press release
60th anniversary of the Social Charter: the Social Constitution of Europe

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