Press release - 612(2009)

State budgets reveal whether the government is committed to human rights

Strasbourg, 03.08.2009 – “The current economic crisis has made it particularly important to screen state budgets for their compliance with human rights” said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint published today. “The allocation of resources will affect human rights protection - including gender equality, children’s rights and the situation of old or disabled persons, migrants and other groups which risk being disadvantaged. The way state revenues are obtained will also have an influence on justice and fairness in society; in this regard no tax system is neutral.”

    Highlighting concrete examples of human-rights budgeting, such as the project initiated by the Human Rights Centre at Queen’s University in Belfast or the analysis of Institute for Democracy in South Africa, the Commissioner states that rights-based budgeting puts the emphasis on results, transparency and accountability.

    He concludes affirming that “the key problem in all human rights work is still the gap between pledges and reality. This ‘implementation gap’ can only be bridged when budget processes and the budgets themselves reflect our vision about human rights for all.”

    Published fortnightly in English, French and Russian, Viewpoints can be used without prior consent, provided that the text is not modified and the original source is indicated in the following way: “Also available at the Commissioner’s website at”.

    Media contacts in the Commissioner’s Office: Stefano Montanari, +33 6 61 14 70 37;

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