Press Release No: 15/17
21 April 2015
On 15 April 2015 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution concerning the collective complaint (No. 90/2013) lodged by the Conference of European Churches against the Netherlands.
In late 2014, the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) sided with CEC and found that the right of undocumented adult migrants to food, clothing, and shelter has not been respected, in violation of the European Social Charter.
In its resolution the Committee of Ministers takes note of the ECSR report, which said that migrants and failed asylum seekers “find themselves at risk of irreparable harm to their life and human dignity when excluded from access to shelter, food and clothing.” The resolution also notes concerns communicated by the Dutch government.
CEC welcomes this resolution as it upholds the validity of the ECSR decision. It remains the legal basis that allows Dutch courts and public authorities to continue, as they have in past months, to act in favour of homeless migrants in irregular situations in the Netherlands.
However, we also regret that the resolution fails to positively support the decision of the ECSR and instead tries to balance a number of considerations. It is the hope of the Conference of European Churches that this will not weaken the place of human rights as a core priority of the Council of Europe.
The advocacy work of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (Protestantse Kerk in Nederland) for “bread, bed and bath” for those who need it most urgently is commendable. We encourage other member churches and organisations in partnership to make use of the social charter and complaint mechanism.
For a complete text of the Committee of Ministers resolution, please click here.
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Conference of European Churches
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of some 114 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 national council of churches and organisations in partnership. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.