Council of Europe

The Council of Europe is the continent's leading human rights organisation. It includes 47 member states, 28 of which are members of the European Union. All Council of Europe member states have signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights, a treaty designed to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Council of Europe was established on May 5, 1949 by Treaty of London signed by ten states (Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

The European Court of Human Rights, which was inaugurated on April 20, 1959, oversees the implementation of the Convention in the member states. Individuals can bring complaints of human rights violations to the Strasbourg Court once all possibilities of appeal have been exhausted in the member state concerned. The European Union is preparing to sign the European Convention on Human Rights, creating a common European legal space for over 820 million citizens.

Headquarters and Offices
The Council of Europe has its headquarters in Strasbourg, France. It employs 2 200 people, and maintains external and liaison offices to other international organisations. The European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest offer training for young people in democracy and human rights issues.

What They Do
The Council of Europe advocates freedom of expression and of the media, freedom of assembly, equality, and the protection of minorities. It has launched campaigns on issues such as child protection, online hate speech, and the rights of the Roma, Europe's largest minority. The Council of Europe helps member states fight corruption and terrorism and undertake necessary judicial reforms. Its group of constitutional experts, known as the Venice Commission, offers legal advice to countries throughout the world.

The Council of Europe promotes human rights through international conventions, such as the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and the Convention on Cybercrime. It monitors member states' progress in these areas and makes recommendations through independent expert monitoring bodies. All Council of Europe member states have abolished the death penalty.
Address:   Council of Europe
Palais de l'Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex
Notes:   Available in English, French, Danish, Italian and Russian versions.

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Keywords :  
human rights organisation   european union   eu   human rights violations   protect human rights   european convention on human rights
Guide ID: 3193 - Last Updated: September 13, 2013