Economic crisis and human rights
The economic crisis has been transformed into a new political reality of austerity which threatens over six decades of social solidarity and expanding human rights protection across Council of Europe member states. Austerity measures have exacerbated the already severe human consequences of the economic crisis marked by record levels of unemployment. The whole spectrum of human rights has been affected and many vulnerable groups of people have been hit disproportionately. Deepening poverty, including child deprivation, and youth unemployment are likely to have long-term effects. The economic crisis is also undermining the capacity of central and local authorities to ensure human rights protection.
Human rights provide a universal normative framework and operational redlines within which governments' economic and social policies must function. Ombudsmen, human rights commissions and equality bodies have great potential to promote human rights-compliant responses to the crisis and protect people from discriminatory measures which result in inequalities. The Commissioner has issued actionable recommendations which help forge a new path along which governments can align their economic recovery policies with their commitments for human rights. It is necessary to reinvigorate the European social model based on the foundation of human dignity, inter-generational solidarity and access to justice for all.