The European Social Charter turns 60. It opened for signature in Turin on October 18, 1961 and is an international treaty of the Council of Europe that guarantees a wide range of human rights such as work, housing, health, education, assistance and social protection. It is complementary to the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects civil and political rights. Often considered the Constitution of Europe in the social field, the Charter emphasizes the protection of vulnerable groups such as the elderly, minors, people with disabilities and migrants, distinguishing itself as the guardian of fundamental social and economic rights. In order to take the challenges of our modern societies into account, the content of the Charter has been supplemented by a revised version since 1996 which turns 25 in 2021. Today, the Charter is the most accepted set of norms related to human rights within the Council of Europe. All 47 Member States have signed the 1961 or the revised Charter.

Respect for the Charter by the States that make up the contract is guaranteed by the European Committee of Social Rights - a body made up of 15 independent and impartial members - which operates within the framework of two distinct procedures: that of national relations and that of collective complaints. As part of the national reporting procedure, "conclusions" are adopted, while for the collective complaints procedure these are "decisions". A Protocol which opened for signature in 1995 and came into force in 1998 allows national and international trade union organizations, employers' organizations and international non-governmental organizations to submit their complaints to the Committee regarding violations of the Charter. «Social rights represent a fundamental element of the global system of collective guarantees for the protection of human rights in Europe. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has accentuated the growing inequalities within our societies. The Social Charter of the Council of Europe helps member states to combat this trend by supporting the development of effective social rights protection devices even in times of crisis ", declared the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, on the occasion of the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Charter, held on 18 October in Strasbourg.


Giuseppe Zaffuto, spokesman for the Council of Europe for Italy

Subscribe to our newsletter

When you submit the form, check your inbox to confirm your subscription