3rd meeting on the non-accepted provisions of the European Social Charter
Thursday, November 7, 2019, the third meeting on the non-accepted provisions of the European Social Charter (revised) organised by the Department of the European Social Charter, DGI, Council of Europe and the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice of Romania took place. The participants to the event included representatives of General Inspectorate for Immigration, Ministry for National Education, Ministry for Regional Development and Public Administration, National Employment Agency, and representatives of trade unions. IRDO representatives saw the event as an opportunity to stay informed on the analysis and assessment of the non-accepted provisions of the European Social Charter.
Mr. Francois Vandamme, Vice-president of the European Committee of Social Rights, stated that Romania is an active partner even if it has not ratified all provisions of the Charter. According to the last Report of the Committee (2015) and following the conclusions of the meeting, Romania fulfils the necessary criteria to adopt many of the unratified articles. Currently, 15 articles have not been or have been partially ratified by the Romanian state. Moreover, Romania has not ratified the Collective Complaints Procedure, provided by the 1995 Additional Protocol to the European Social Charter. The Committee concluded that more information is needed regarding the legislative framework for several articles, such as article 23 - the right of elderly persons to social protection, article 30 - the right to protection against poverty and social exclusion, and article 31 - the right to housing.
Regarding article 23, which offers a broad perspective on human rights, it was mentioned that one impediment for ratification is that the article does not have any paragraphs. Considering the broadness of the article, it may be difficult for authorities to fulfil all requirements. The Committee also observed a lack of provisions referring to the participation of the elderly and age discrimination. At the same time, the committee underlined the importance to respect the dignity of elders and the necessity to introduce programmes on mental health, considering that depression is widespread among this age category, especially among the ones that live alone.
On article 30, Committee expressed concerns on the risk of poverty in Romania, which, according to Eurostat Data, is one of the highest at European level, and there is a high percentage of people facing severe deprivation (20%) despite the broad social assistance regulation framework. Committee also stressed the need to evaluate the risk of poverty after the social transfers to assess their efficiency.
Regarding article 31, Committee representatives highlighted the need to respect minimum standards for housing and living conditions, and to provide legal protection and remedies. Regarding homeless persons, the Committee notes that there is a need to come up with actions to prevent homelessness, but also to ensure the right to shelter for these persons, while respecting human dignity and providing minimal sanitary and health standards. At the same time, access to housing or shelter should not be discriminatory.
Committee remarked positive aspects as well, considering that in some cases, Romanian legal provisions exceed the standards of the European Social Charter (revised). Besides, the Committee highlighted the importance of an existing legal framework and the need to ensure appropriate implementation of laws.