Europe

Council of Europe: social rights shield not used enough

Europe's top human rights body says more of its members need to ratify a legal process that could help protect the social rights of society's most vulnerable groups, including migrants.

Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, the deputy secretary-general of the Council of Europe, told a conference Friday that only 15 of the Council's 47 member states have ratified the Collective Complaints Procedure.

The procedure enables bodies such as international NGOs and trade unions to take cases to the European Committee of Social Rights to defend victims' rights to education, housing and health care.

The Council's top human rights official, Christos Giakoumopoulos, said the committee's decisions aren't legally binding, but can pressure national authorities to amend laws.

Giakoumopoulos said an "explosion" of such cases is expected in the near future.