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Equality and the crisis

Doc. 13661: collection of written amendments | Doc. 13661 | Final version

Caption: AdoptedRejectedWithdrawnNo electronic votes

ADraft Resolution

1The economic crisis has hit the majority of Council of Europe member States with a long-term impact on the population going beyond the economic sphere. The crisis has resulted in higher unemployment, undermined social cohesion, greater poverty, rising inequalities and income gaps, increasing discrimination and intolerance, social tensions and rising support for populist political parties and movements.
2Austerity measures have been one of the main responses to the crisis. The Parliamentary Assembly is deeply concerned that, by undermining equal opportunities and cutting funding for social programmes and equality bodies, the economic crisis and austerity measures have had a negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights and equality, affecting disproportionately vulnerable categories of people, including women, young people, people with disabilities, older people and migrants.
3The economic crisis has also diminished the level of trust in the political system and the spirit of solidarity in society. When exercising their role of democratic scrutiny, parliaments should assess the human rights impact of measures proposed by governments.
4A responsible response to the economic crisis should take into account its potential impact on the population with a long-term perspective and cannot take the form of short-term measures only. Budgetary cuts should not be blind to human rights and equality. In this respect, human rights and equality impact assessments are essential in order to take informed decisions and mitigate, as far as possible, the impact of austerity measures on vulnerable categories of people.
5Maintaining a high level of social protection and combating inequalities can contribute to stimulating growth and to reducing poverty in the long term. Positive measures protecting vulnerable categories of people and their participation in society should be preserved as far as possible so as to guarantee social protection floors and social cohesion and to prevent a backlash against social rights. The Assembly is convinced that social justice is beneficial in the long term, both economically and socially. By ensuring accountability of decision-makers, investing in equality and working for inclusion and a participatory approach, one can contribute to promoting a vision of society based on solidarity and respect for human rights.
6Human rights standards include a positive obligation for States to identify groups at risk and take into account their vulnerabilities when formulating policies. In this regard, the European Social Charter (revised) (ETS No. 163) is a key instrument for the protection of social rights, including in times of economic crisis. The Assembly welcomes the ratification of the European Social Charter (revised) by 33 member States and hopes they will be followed by others as soon as possible.
7In the light of these considerations, the Assembly calls on the member States to:
7.1invest in equality as a way of tackling the crisis and take measures to mitigate the impact of the economic crisis on the most vulnerable categories of people;
7.2carry out human rights and equality impact assessments in co-operation with national human rights institutions and take into account a long-term perspective when developing economic and social policy responses to the economic crisis;
7.3facilitate increased co-operation with social partners and organise regular consultations with representatives of national human rights institutions, social partners and civil society to discuss a co-ordinated approach to the economic crisis and in order to adjust policies according to needs;
7.4set up, when relevant, structures on the model of the Icelandic Welfare Watch in order to ensure dialogue and tackle the disproportionate impact and the cumulative effects of the crisis and of austerity measures on vulnerable categories of people;
7.5promote and encourage the participation of vulnerable categories of people in recovery planning;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7.5, after the words "promote and encourage the participation of vulnerable categories of people", insert the following words: ", in particular young people".

7.6step up efforts to combat gender-based discrimination on the labour market, including maternity discrimination;
7.7ensure adequate funding to assistance and protection services for victims of domestic or sexual violence;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7.7, after the words "ensure adequate funding" insert the following words: "to programmes for preventing and combating violence against women as well as".

7.8give more attention to and invest in combating youth unemployment and social exclusion of young people;

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 7.8, add the following words: "and foster the implementation of proposals laid out in Resolution (1885) 2012 on "The young generation sacrificed: social, economic and political implications of the financial crisis"".

7.9adopt policies that guarantee the rights of people with disabilities and allow them to live independently and enjoy full inclusion in society;
7.10ensure that older people can live in dignity by guaranteeing a minimum income, promoting social inclusion and combating abuse and discrimination;

27 January 2015

Tabled by the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development

Votes: 112 in favor 5 against 5 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7.10, replace the words "a minimum income" with the following words: "an adequate minimum income".

7.11step up efforts to combat the rise of racism and xenophobia and condemn hate speech, irrespective of the economic context;
7.12ensure adequate funding for national human rights institutions allowing them to carry out their mandate;
8The Assembly calls on the parliaments of member States to:
8.1initiate without delay the process of ratification of the European Social Charter (revised), if they have not yet done so, and to ensure its implementation, including the collective complaints procedure;

27 January 2015

Tabled by the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development

Votes: 125 in favor 0 against 4 abstentions

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 8.1 with the following paragraph:

"further promote the full ratification and implementation of the European Social Charter (revised) (ETS No. 163) as well as the Additional Protocol providing for a system of Collective Complaints (ETS No. 158) and the protocol amending the European Social Charter (ETS No. 142,"Turin Protocol") providing for the election of the members of the European Committee of Social Rights by the Assembly;"

8.2exercise parliamentary oversight over governmental responses to the economic crisis, asking for the conduct of human rights and equality impact assessments, when this is not yet the case;
8.3organise parliamentary debates on the impact of the economic crisis on the most vulnerable categories of people;
8.4ensure legislative follow-up to decisions of the European Committee of Social Rights;
8.5increase co-operation with national human rights institutions and social partners, involving them in the design of measures to counter the economic crisis, and to increase dialogue with non-governmental organisations on the response to the economic crisis.
9The Assembly encourages non-governmental organisations active in this sector to continue advocating social dialogue and to pursue their awareness-raising activities with regard to the promotion and protection of human rights, including economic and social rights, and the impact of the economic crisis on the most vulnerable categories of people.