COUNCIL OF EUROPE
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS
Recommendation No. R (2000) 3
of the Committee of Ministers to member states
on the Right to the Satisfaction of Basic Material Needs
of Persons in Situations of Extreme Hardship
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers
on 19 January 2000
at the 694th meting of the Ministers Deputies)
The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is the achievement of greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage ;
Bearing in mind the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ;
Concerned by the individual situations of extreme hardship which exist, sometimes on a very large scale, in all the member States ;
Aware that the satisfaction of basic human material needs (as a minimum: food, clothing, shelter and basic medical care) is a requirement intrinsic to the dignity of every human being and constitutes the condition for the existence of all human beings and their well-being ;
Further aware that the satisfaction of these needs corresponds to a duty of society in terms of humanity;
Further considering that the recognition of an individual, universal and enforceable right, for persons in situations of extreme hardship, to the satisfaction of those needs is a condition for the exercise of other fundamental rights and an indispensable element in a democratic state based on the rule of law;
Referring to the conclusions of the Conference on Human Dignity and Social Exclusion (Helsinki, 18-20 May 1998), to Resolution 1999/26 of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on human rights and extreme poverty, to Recommendation 1196 (1992) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on severe poverty and social exclusion: towards guaranteed minimum levels of resources, as well as to the Committee of Ministers' Recommendation No R (93) 1 to member States on effective access to the law and to justice for the very poor ;
Noting that certain member states already recognise, in their internal law and practice, the existence of an individual, universal and enforceable right to the satisfaction of basic human material needs;
Considering that the law and practice of all member states should recognise such a right ;
RECOMMENDS the governments of the member states to put into practice the principles in the Annex to this Recommendation in order to recognise, at national level, an individual universal and enforceable right to the satisfaction of basic material needs (as a minimum : food, clothing, shelter and basic medical care) for persons in situations of extreme hardship.
Appendix to Recommendation No. R (2000) 3
Member states should recognise, in their law and practice, a right to the satisfaction of basic material needs of any person in a situation of extreme hardship.
The right to the satisfaction of basic human material needs should contain as a minimum the right to food, clothing, shelter and basic medical care.
The right to the satisfaction of basic human material needs should be enforceable, every person in a situation of extreme hardship being able to invoke it directly before the authorities and, if need be, before the courts.
The exercise of this right should be open to all citizens and foreigners, whatever the latters position under national rules on the status of foreigners, and in the manner determined by national authorities.
The member states should ensure that the information available on the existence of this right is sufficient.