The European Social Charter : Human rights in daily life

Social Charter

European Social Charter


Human rights in daily life


Since it was founded in 1949, the Council of Europe has established core rights, now shared by all its member countries, which have become mainstays of the European model. The European Social Charter is one of the major instruments in this process.

Adopted in 1961 and revised in 1996, the Charter is the natural counterpart to the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the civil and political rights of individuals. It guarantees social and economic rights to housing, health, education, employment, movement of persons, non-discrimination and legal protection. 43 of the 47 member countries have ratified one of the two versions of the European Social Charter.

The Charter was supplemented in 1995 with a Protocol prescribing a collective complaints procedure. This allows violations of the Charter to be referred to the European Committee of Social Rights.

The mission of the Committee is to rule on the conformity of the situation in States with the provisions of the European Social Charter, the 1988 Additional Protocol and the Revised European Social Charter.  In respect of national reports, the Committee adopts conclusions, in respect of collective complaints, it adopts decisions.

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50th anniversary of the European Social Charter to be celebrated in 2011

On 18 October 2011 it will be 50 years since the European Social Charter was adopted.  This anniversary will be marked by the Council of Europe in different ways during the course of the year.  The Committee for its part will launch a reflection on how the visibility and impact can be improved and for this purpose it will, inter alia, review existing procedures and working methods.  It also invites the States Parties to consider how a wider application of the Charter can be ensured and in this respect it wishes to encourage those States who have not already done so to take steps to ratify the Revised Charter and the collective complaints procedure in 2011.

Helsinki international seminar to discuss reform of the European Social Charter

Helsinki international seminar to discuss reform of the European Social Charter

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the European Social Charter in 2011, the Council of Europe organised on 8 February a seminar to examine a number of measures to reform the procedures of the Charter and the work of its monitoring body, the European Committee of Social Rights. The President of the Republic of Finland, Tarja Halonen, and Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, participated in the opening session. (more ...)

European Committee of Social Rights: 2010 conclusions made public

European Committee of Social Rights: 2010 conclusions made public

The European Committee of Social Rights today published its Conclusions 2010 in respect of the States Parties to the Revised Charter. These conclusions contain the assessment of national situations with regard to the labour rights provisions of the Revised Charter such as the right to just conditions of work, the right to fair remuneration, the right to organise and the right to bargain collectively. (more ...)