Collaborative Platform on Social and Economic Rights explores channels to ensure justiciability of economic and social rights in Europe
The 9th meeting of the CoE-FRA-ENNHRI-Equinet Collaborative Platform on Social and Economic Rights was held on 28 November 2019 in Strasbourg, France, where experts explored opportunities and challenges of the legal enforcement of economic and social rights in Europe. Concrete suggestions were made on the role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and National Equality Bodies in these processes.
In their presentations, participants underlined that NHRIs play a crucial role in providing information to actors engaged in litigation and court proceedings through their monitoring function. Presentations were made by representatives of European NHRIs, National Equality Bodies, the UN Committee of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), European Committee of Social Rights, European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, as well as national judges.
At the national level, NHRIs take part in legislative proceedings and engage with domestic courts. For example, the Scottish NHRI (Scottish Human Rights Commission) intervened in a civil litigation case Ali v. Serco, regarding the eviction of people seeking asylum. The Georgian NHRI (Office of the Ombudsman of Georgia) submitted a written opinion as amicus curiae to the Constitutional Court regarding social benefits.
At the international and regional levels, NHRIs provide essential information to the UN CESCR and the European Social Committee and monitor the implementation of their observations and decisions. They are well-placed to train judges, lawyers and human rights advocates about the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the European Social Charter to encourage their use at the domestic level. NHRIs can also submit third-party interventions to the ECtHR, as the French NHRI (French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights) had done in the case Khan v. France on unaccompanied foreign minors in Calais.
Members of ENNHRI’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Working Group continued discussions about their work on economic and social rights in a brief meeting on the following day, where they also elected the German NHRI (German Institute for Human Rights) as the Working Group’s new Chair, represented by Sara Phung.
» Learn about the practices of NHRIs in complaint handling and litigation on economic and social rights on our interactive page
» Learn more about the CoE-FRA-ENNHRI-Equinet Collaborative Platform on Social and Economic Rights
» Learn about engagement with the European Committee of Social Rights
» Learn more about ENNHRI’s work on economic and social rights
Photo: Discussion on the justiciability of economic and social rights at the Platform meeting (28 November 2019 – Strasbourg, France)