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Foreword

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 February 2022

Philip Czech
Affiliation:
University of Salzburg
Lisa Heschl
Affiliation:
University of Graz
Karin Lukas
Affiliation:
Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Menschenrechte, Austria
Manfred Nowak
Affiliation:
University of Vienna
Gerd Oberleitner
Affiliation:
European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, University of Graz
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Summary

2020 has been a particularly challenging year for human rights across the globe. The breadth of the issues faced by governments, civil society and individuals in Europe, and their complexity and interdependence, is thoroughly reflected in the selected contributions to this year’s 13th edition of the European Yearbook on Human Rights.

2020 will always be viewed as the year of the great and global health crisis. Yet the health crisis also quickly developed into a human rights and rule of law crisis. In 2020, it became apparent that we can no longer rest on our laurels and pride ourselves on past achievements in the protection and promotion of human rights. While commitment to upholding human rights standards has been faltering across Europe for several years already, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this erosion. On the symbolic day of 10 December 2020, Human Rights Day, I told the Member States of the Council of Europe that we are at a crossroads. If we want to bolster individual freedoms rather than relinquishing them and empower people rather than marginalising them, we must show courage and firm commitment to the fundamental principles of post-war European solidarity: to human rights, democracy and the rule of law as ultimate guarantors of peace, justice and democratic security.

In 2020, we have been forced to focus our attention on an often overlooked, yet indispensable and fundamental human right: the right to health. Without it, we cannot live in dignity, and our ability to exercise any other right, – to vote and enjoy civil and political freedoms, to work, learn and create – is significantly restricted. The COVID-19 pandemic has made us painfully aware that human rights, while individual rights, cannot be protected effectively at an individual level only. They need effective and inclusive systems, accessible to everyone and built on a robust sense of solidarity. This is especially true for social rights – which are often, however, still treated as an afterthought. It is exactly this nonchalance towards the right to health and its essential social determinants in the past that proved lethal in 2020.

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Publisher: Intersentia
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Foreword
  • Edited by Philip Czech, University of Salzburg, Lisa Heschl, University of Graz, Karin Lukas, Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Menschenrechte, Austria, Manfred Nowak, University of Vienna, Gerd Oberleitner, European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, University of Graz
  • Book: European Yearbook on Human Rights 2021
  • Online publication: 22 February 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781839702266.001
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  • Foreword
  • Edited by Philip Czech, University of Salzburg, Lisa Heschl, University of Graz, Karin Lukas, Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Menschenrechte, Austria, Manfred Nowak, University of Vienna, Gerd Oberleitner, European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, University of Graz
  • Book: European Yearbook on Human Rights 2021
  • Online publication: 22 February 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781839702266.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Foreword
  • Edited by Philip Czech, University of Salzburg, Lisa Heschl, University of Graz, Karin Lukas, Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Menschenrechte, Austria, Manfred Nowak, University of Vienna, Gerd Oberleitner, European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, University of Graz
  • Book: European Yearbook on Human Rights 2021
  • Online publication: 22 February 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781839702266.001
Available formats
×