The Council of Europe's strategy for combating poverty is aimed at strengthening social cohesion in Europe, preventing and combating social exclusion. The Council of Europe has a number of legal instruments chief among them the European Convention on Human Rights which establishes rights and fundamental freedoms, and the European Social Charter which establishes social rights, including the right to protection against poverty and the right to housing.

Each year, the Council of Europe takes part in the celebration of World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty and organises a ceremony in front of a replica of the Commemorative Stone, symbolising the refusal of extreme poverty, which was laid in 1993 on the Palais de l'Europe forecourt.

Created on the initiative of Father Joseph Wresinski and of 100,000 defenders of human rights, who gathered together on the Trocadero Plaza in Paris on 17 October 1987 to honour victims of hunger, violence, and ignorance, to express their refusal of extreme poverty, the World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty is celebrated on that date, each year since 1992.

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Secretary General Strasbourg 19 October 2021
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Secretary General highlights poverty and trafficking as human rights violations

How many more people will be cast into poverty? How many more people will find themselves trafficked as a result?

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and European Anti-Trafficking Day 2021, Marija Pejčinović Burić called for essential coordination between the state, civil society and trade unions and the private sector.

Effective action is needed to tackle the terrible and growing problem of trafficking of human beings for the purposes of labour exploitation - the main form of the crime of human trafficking in many European countries.

The Secretary General pointed to her roadmap to strengthen the Council of Europe’s action in this area, as well as a compendium of good practices and guidance issued by the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings as tools to help national authorities tackle this abuse.

The Committee of Ministers has set up a drafting committee that will prepare a comprehensive, practical and ground-breaking recommendation to governments on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation. It will be based on the Council of Europe’s work and the experience of other international organisations including the ILO, the UNODC and the OSCE.

As Pejčinović Burić underlined, ending poverty and preventing human trafficking requires determination, grit and commitment and needs all of us to work together – at the national level, the international level, and on the ground too.

The event to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and European Anti-trafficking Day was an initiative of the Conference of INGOs.


 Speech by the Secretary General

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25 répliques de la dalle du refus de la misère ont été posées dans des lieux hautement symboliques dans 10 pays sur 4 continents. L'une d'elles a été posée le 21 mai 1993 au pied des marches du Conseil de l'Europe à Strasbourg, à l'occasion du rassemblement européen ''Passeurs des frontières de l'exclusion'' qui a réuni 400 jeunes de 18 pays.