The European Social Charter Turns 60: Introduction to the Special Section

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Abstract: Since it was opened for signature by the member States of the Council of Europe (CoE) on 18 October 1961, the European Social Charter (ESC) has developed into an advanced regional system of economic and social human rights protection, although on different modalities than the European Convention of Human Rights’ system. The ESC’s effectiveness has increased with the quasi-judicial, optional procedure of collective complaints, but further improvement of the ESC control mechanisms has been sought. Moreover, the multiple crises which have affected Europe over the past two decades have highlighted the relevance of ESC guaranteed rights, in the State parties’ legal orders, in relation to EU law, and in the CoE framework. These developments have shown room for potential use as well as a need for wider knowledge of this treaty instrument. After presenting the main features of the ESC system, this Article aims to frame further study on its impact in the multi-sourced and multi-level framework of human rights protection in Europe.

Keywords: European Social Charter – Economic and Social Rights (ESR) – Council of Europe – multi-level human rights protection – multi-sourced human rights – European social charter system.

European Papers, Vol. 7, 2022, No 3, pp. 1489-1494
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/622

* Associate Professor, University of Turin,
** Researcher, University of Turin,
*** Associate Professor, University of Turin,


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