The European Committee of Social Rights held an exchange of views with Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on 2 July 2019 in Strasbourg.
The meeting provided an opportunity for the Committee to learn more about the recent work carried out by Philip Alston and to exchange on issues of common concern such as the right to protection against poverty and social exclusion, the impact of austerity measures on human rights, the right to health and healthy environment. Philip Alston referred to climate change as having disproportionate negative impact on those living in poverty, and as a serious threat to democracy and human rights.
The UN Special Rapporteur also presented his work on the human rights impacts, especially on those living in poverty, of the introduction of digital technology in the labour market and in respect of welfare provision systems.
Other discussion topics included Article 30 on the protection against poverty and social exclusions under the European Social Charter and the importance of developing closer cooperation between the Council of Europe and the United Nations bodies for a coordinated approach in guaranteeing and promoting social rights was highlighted.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
The Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights is an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council. The mandate was established to give greater prominence to the plight of those living in extreme poverty and to highlight the human rights consequences of the systematic neglect to which they are all too often subjected. The expert is required by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back to member States on initiatives taken to promote and protect the rights of those living in extreme poverty, with a view to advancing the eradication of such poverty.
European Committee of Social Rights, Council of Europe
The European Committee of Social Rights is a body composed of 15 independent and impartial members. It rules on the conformity of the law and practice of the States Parties with the Charter. The Committee has two procedures to ensure that States Parties comply with their commitments under the Charter: national reports and collective complaints. In the framework of the reporting procedure it adopts “conclusions” and in respect of the collective complaints procedure it adopts “decisions”. The Protocol which came into force in 1998, allows national and international trade union organisations, employers’ organisations and non-governmental organisations to submit to the Committee their complaints about violations of the Charter. Not all Council of Europe member states have accepted all the provisions of the Charter, nor the collective complaints procedure.