On Thursday, the European Committee of Social Rights issued a statement bringing attention to the social rights which got overlooked due to the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic. These included labour rights, the right to social security, social and medical assistance, the right to be protected against poverty and social exclusion, the right to housing and education.
The committee urged the member nations to consider these rights and the right-holders while designing and implementing the Covid-19 combat plan. It stressed that special attention and appropriate priority should be provided to the ‘most socially vulnerable groups and individuals’.
The European Social Charter promoted the rights of children and families, women, older persons and persons with disabilities. Hence, it asked the state parties to pay equal attention to economic and social policy measures in its response to the ongoing health crisis. Besides, the committee reminded nations of the Article E of the Charter, which stated that no policy should lead to discrimination in terms of social rights enjoyment, be it in direct or indirect manner.
In order to ensure complete success and maximum impact of its measures, the European Committee suggested the nations to involve social partners and civil society organisation in the planning, implementation and evaluation process.
Karin Lukas, President of the European Committee of Social Rights, who elaborated over the issue, said, “the statement aims to provide guidance to States Parties, organisations of workers and employers, civil society and other key stakeholders by clarifying certain aspects of the Charter rights in question as they apply in the current crisis.” She further stressed that “crises, whatever their cause, should not have as a consequence the reduction of protection or enjoyment of the rights recognized by the Charter. On the contrary, governments are bound to take all necessary steps to ensure that social rights are effectively guaranteed at a period of time when their citizens need the protection most.”