:: Ethical Code and Main Principles

Health mediation shares the ethical principles set out in the charter of reference for social mediation. This was established and adopted in 2001 by the Inter-Ministerial Committee of Cities.

The charter of reference for social mediation

Social mediators must comply with a number of legal and ethical rules that define what is permitted and prohibited by law. These rules, which in a way constitute the rights and duties of social mediators, are the guarantees of protection for the users, the public, the mediators and the partners. They also guarantee the effectiveness and the sustainability of the intervention.

1. General principles

Neutrality and impartiality

Neutrality and impartiality are the general principles guiding the intervention of social mediators, which should not favor one party or the other. The application of these principles depends on the recognition of the status of the mediator and presupposes appropriate training. The intervention by two mediator at the same time can contribute to a better compliance with these principles.

Negotiation and dialogue

Mediation takes place within the framework of negotiation and dialogue: it is never imposed by an authority, even if it is applied in reference to legislations, or rules of collective life.

Free consent and participation of the inhabitants

Social mediation is based on the free consent of the parties. At any time, it is possible for either party to withdraw this consent. Mediation must be based on the constant search for the parties' adherence to the objectives of their interventions. It must aim at obtaining the participation of the inhabitants in the resolution of the dispute which opposes them or in improving the communication and the social link between them. This objective imposes on the mediator a duty to explain the conditions of his intervention and its limits.

The mobilization of institutions

By promoting citizenship and revealing institutional dysfunctions, social mediation contributes to the modernization of institutions, their closer proximity with the inhabitants and users of public services and their adaptation to new needs. Social mediation thus contributes to the proper exercise of public services without acting as a substitute and without creating a gap between the institutions and the public.

Protection of human rights

Social mediation tends to protect people and their rights. It cannot substitute for services or rights guaranteed to everyone. It leads to an improvement in social relations without ever obliging anyone to renounce their rights.

Respect for fundamental rights

Social mediation must offer all the guarantees set out in the European Convention on Human Rights and the relevant case-law, both in the mechanisms it implements and in the solutions it promote.

It must be conducted with respect for public freedoms and regulations that protect privacy.

2. The mediator's attitudes

The mediator's discretion and obligations toward the law

Discretion and respect for anonymity are imposed on the mediator, whose recognition rests on the confidence he inspires in the parties. The mediator may only use the information gathered during the mediation (whether in confidence or observation) with the agreement of the parties, in compliance with existing laws.

In carrying out their activities, social mediators face complex situations that do not relieve them of their responsibilities as citizens under the law (obligation to provide assistance to a person at risk, an obligation to report crimes and violence against particularly vulnerable people, etc.).

Considering those elements, it is the responsibility of the employer to remind the mediator the kind of information that can be shared and the conditions under which this may occur, which must be done in a way that ensures their protection.

Disinterestedness and freedom of the mediator

Mediation is disinterested: the mediator, apart from the remuneration he can receive from his employer, must not use his influence or his position to obtain any benefit from the inhabitants, the users or the structures within which he/she intervenes.

Depending on the situation, the specific nature of the conflict or the problem, the place or the persons involved, the mediator can refuse an intervention.

In special circumstances, it may also be required to discontinue an action. However, the mediator should not make this decision alone and, if the conditions are met, he will have to pass the relay.

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