General of Social Cohesion
“ What are we about?
is a political concept that highlights the strong relationship between
the core values of the Council of Europe. It provides the absolutely necessary
condition for democratic stability and sustainable development throughout
In this context
our most challenging priority is promoting social rights which are considered,
especially in today’s economic crisis, “the bread and butter of human
rights”. We are also concerned with such basic human rights as the
right to health protection and the right to have equal access to health
care. “No poor health for poor people” has always been our motto.
Guaranteeing the quality of medicines and fighting counterfeit medicine
are other major tasks of our work in the area of public health.
also focus on the whole variety of human rights of vulnerable groups
such as elderly people and people with disabilities (the latter are, by the
way, numerically the most important vulnerable group in Europe counting
more than 80 million people). We pay particular attention to the
future of Europe – to children, protecting their rights in the same manner
as the rights of adults. We are strongly convinced that children
are not mini human beings with mini human rights.
poor, measuring the progress of societies by developing indicators of
well-being as well as promoting good governance in health care and patient's
participation are valid contributions to promoting another core value
of the Council of Europe – democracy.
A jewel in the
crown of our Directorate General is the Oviedo Convention on human rights
and biomedicine, the only legally binding international instrument helping
to strike the right balance between freedom of research and the protection
of the individual.
These do not constitute
the complete range of our activities but they are major examples of what
we are doing to create European societies which are more oriented towards
human rights, more democratic and more socially cohesive and fair.
Following the Conference of Ministers
responsible for social cohesion held in Moscow in February 2009, a new
Strategy for Social Cohesion and an Action Plan for Social Cohesion providing
further orientations and guidance both to the Council of Europe and to
its member states have been drafted and adopted by the Committee of Ministers
on the 7th of July 2010.