UPDATE: The Council of Europe
By Sophie Lobey
Sophie Lobey holds a Master of International Trade and Finance (Paris, 1992) from "Institut Supérieur de Gestion" (Advanced Institute of Management). She has worked for about 20 years for Council of Europe Publishing, and is responsible for the Council of Europe Public Relations and Publications Section since 2003.
Published July/August 2016
(Previously updated in Sept./Oct. 2007 and Sept. 2013)
Table of Contents
1. An Overview
3. The Conventions
3.1 Human Rights
4. Monitoring Bodies
5. The Rule of Law
6. Partial Agreements
7. Campaigns and Projects
8. European Union and Council of Europe Co-operation
9. Global Co-operation
10. Council of Europe Member States
11. Council of Europe Observer States
12. Glossary of Terms
13. Resource Material
The Council of Europe is an international organisation with 47 member states whose founding principles are human rights, democracy and the rule of law. These values are the basis of all of the work carried out within the Organisation in order to build a stable, tolerant and functional Europe.
Nurturing Europe’s cultural identity and diversity while achieving democratic stability through political, legislative and constitutional reform are at the heart of this process. The European Convention on Human Rights is the cornerstone of this work and remains as strong as ever in its role as a powerful protector of essential freedoms.
It has successfully developed a rights protection system, best known for the European Court of Human Rights. The court was established under the European Convention of Human Rights which is the cornerstone of the organisation works and a powerful protector of essential freedoms. The court oversees the implementation of the Convention in the 47 member states. Individuals can bring complaints of human rights violation to the Strasbourg Court once all possibilities of appeal have been exhausted in the member state concerned.
The Council of Europe was set up in 1949, in the wake of the Second World War, to ensure the political reconstruction of Europe, based on a set of fundamental values whose negation had brought the continent to its knees. Currently, the Council of Europe continues to reaffirm its steadfast commitment to protecting these values and is constantly evolving to match the changing international climate. It is mindful of the threats posed by the current financial, institutional and social crises compounded by an undermining of citizens’ trust and confidence due to corruption and political misconduct.
Through dialogue and co-operation, the Council of Europe is striving to maintain citizens’ faith in the rule of law by concluding new treaties in areas such as international terrorism, human trafficking, violence against women, sexual abuse of children, cybercrime, data protection, etc. It is also urging member states’ governments to implement its recommendations. Furthermore, the Organization has extensive relations with observer states, including USA, and non-member states.
Current key priorities include:
· Fighting corruption
· Helping governments implement judicial reforms
· Protecting freedom of expression and the media
· Fighting intolerance and hate speech
· Promoting diversity
· Protecting minorities
- Committee of Ministers: This is the Council of Europe’s decision-making body made up of all member states’ Foreign Affairs Ministers or their permanent representatives in Strasbourg. The Committee of Minister decides on the Council of Europe’s policy and approves its budget and programme of activities. It is both a governmental body and a collective forum where national and Europe-wide approaches can be formulated. It upholds the Council of Europe’s fundamental values and ensures that member states comply with them. Parliamentary Assembly: Made up of elected representatives of the 47 national parliaments, the Assembly is a forum for debates and proposals concerning pan-European social and political affairs. The Assembly can adopt texts on a wide range of political, social, economic and cultural matters.
- Congress of Local and Regional Authorities: Consisting of two chambers – The Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions – and three committees, its represents over 200 000 local and regional authorities. This Congress provides Europe’s regions and municipalities with a voice in the Council of Europe where local elected representatives can discuss common problems and pool their experience. It represents a link between grass-roots level democracy and the international platform of the Council of Europe thus creating a vital forum for local and regional issues.
- European Court of Human Rights: Established in 1959, the Court is the judicial body which hears complaints brought against a state on the grounds of a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. It ensures the coherent and consistent protection of human rights throughout all 47 member states.
- The Commissioner for Human Rights: The Commissioner is an independent and non-judicial institution to promote awareness of and respect for human rights. It conducts active dialogue with member states on a wide range of pressing issues.
- The Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations: The Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations provides a vital link between politicians and ordinary citizens and gives civil society a voice at the Council of Europe.
- The Secretary General: Elected for 5 years by the Parliamentary Assembly, the Secretary General is in charge of the organisation strategy. He represents the Council of Europe during international events and meetings. The actual Secretary General is the Norwegian Thorbjørn Jagland.
The Council of Europe upholds human rights and democracy through international conventions. These are legally binding agreements by which member states are bound to abide once they have signed and ratified them. States’ policies are regularly reviewed to ensure that they are in compliance. The Council of Europe has produced over 200 treaties to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
- European Convention on Human Rights: The convention entered into force in 1950 and secures civil and political rights, in particular the right to life, the right to a fair trial, freedom of expression and freedom of thought and religion. It prohibits torture, forced labour, capital punishment and all forms of discrimination and established a unique system for ensuring respect for human rights, the European Court of Human Rights. The European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: This convention establishes standards regarding the rights of citizens who have been imprisoned and ensures member states’ compliance. Its aim is to guarantee that the treatment of detainees and prison conditions are consistent with human dignity.
- European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights: This convention aims to protect the best interests of children and provides a number of procedural measures to allow the children to exercise their rights. Among the types of family proceedings of special interest for children are those concerning custody, residence, access, questions of parentage, legitimacy, adoption, legal guardianship, administration of property of children, care procedures, removal or restriction of parental responsibilities, protection from cruel or degrading treatment and medical treatment.
· Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse: It was the first instrument to criminalise the various types of sexual abuse of children, including abuse committed at home or in the family. The objective of this convention is to prevent sexual offences while protecting victims and ensuring that perpetrators are prosecuted. This includes the screening, recruitment and training of people who work with children while making children aware of the risks and teaching them to protect themselves, as well as monitoring measures for offenders and potential offenders.
· Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence: This establishes guidelines to eliminate such acts and bring perpetrators to justice. It aims to protect women from violence and seeks to change attitudes to work towards gender equality. It is not only women who suffer domestic violence, parties to the convention are encouraged to apply the protective framework to men, children and the elderly who are exposed to violence within the family or domestic unit. However, it should not be overlooked that the majority of victims of domestic violence are women and that it is part of a wider pattern of discrimination and inequality.
· The European Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings: This convention is a comprehensive treaty focusing mainly on the protection of victims of trafficking and the safeguarding of their rights. It also aims to prevent trafficking and to prosecute traffickers. In addition, it provides for the establishment of an effective and independent monitoring mechanism capable of controlling the implementation of the obligations contained within it.
- The European Social Charter: The European Social Charter is a key instrument in guaranteeing citizens’ social and economic rights. It covers rights to housing, education, health care, employment and free movement of persons. The European Committee of Social Rights ensures member states’ compliance with the Charter and makes collective decisions on complaints.
- The European Cultural Convention: Because culture plays a key part in understanding other people and respecting diversity, the Council of Europe adopted the European Cultural convention in 1954, which provides the basis for Europe-wide co-operation in the fields of culture, education, youth sport, languages, the transmission of common values and . European Charter of Local Self-Government: this charter provides the constitutional basis for local self –government in the 47 member states which have ratified it. It guarantees the political administrative and financial independence of local authorities.
3.3. Minority Rights
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities: This guarantees protection for national minorities in all member states and establishes guidelines for the freedom of expression, assembly, conscience and religion. It ensures that all citizens belonging to national minorities can enjoy fair access to media, language and education while seeking to promote the full and effective equality of national minorities and enabling them to preserve and develop their culture and to retain their identity.
- European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages: This convention aims to protect and promote regional and minority languages as a threatened aspect of Europe’s cultural heritage and on the other hand to enable speakers of these languages to use them in private and public life.
- The European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism: The Council of Europe has adopted this Convention to increase the effectiveness of existing international texts on the fight against terrorism. It aims to strengthen member States’ efforts to prevent terrorism in two different ways: by establishing as criminal offences certain acts that may lead to the commission of terrorist offences, namely: public provocation, recruitment and training by reinforcing co-operation on prevention both internally (national prevention policies), and internationally (modification of existing extradition and mutual assistance arrangements and additional means). The Convention contains a provision on the protection and compensation of victims of terrorism. An additional protocol to the European Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism was adopted in 2015 to address the problem of “foreign terrorist fighters”.
- The Convention on Cybercrime: The purpose of this convention is to issue guidelines to develop national legislative frameworks to fight cybercrime, especially dealing with infringements of copyright, computer-related fraud, child pornography and violations of network security. It also acts as a platform for communication and co-operation between signatory countries. This convention has also been signed by Canada, and signed and ratified by USA, Japan and Australia.
- Data Protection Convention: By ensuring the appropriate collection, storage and use of personal data, this convention safeguards citizens’ right to private life. It seeks to monitor the trans-frontier flow of personal data and outlaws the processing of data regarded as sensitive without proper defence mechanisms in place.
- European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in particular at Football Matches: This convention aims to foster co-operation between member states, public authorities and independent sports organizations to prevent violence and misbehaviour by spectators at sports events. It sets out a number of measures, including close co-operation between police forces; prosecution of offenders; strict control of ticket sales and appropriate design of stadia to prevent violence and allow effective crowd control and safety.
- Council of Europe convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions: The purpose of this Convention is to prevent, punish and discipline the manipulation of sports competitions, as well as enhance the exchange of information in national and international cooperation between the public authorities concerned, and with sports organizations and sports betting operators.
- The European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine: This convention sets standards for ethical practices in biomedicine including organ transplantation, medical research on human beings, the protection of embryos and the use of medical records. It is designed to preserve human dignity, rights and freedoms by countering the misuse of biological and medical advances. A protocol prohibits the cloning of human beings.
· Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs (2015): The Convention calls on governments to establish as a criminal offence the illegal removal of human organs from living or deceased donors where the removal is performed without the free, informed and specific consent of the living or deceased donor, or, in the case of the deceased donor, without the removal being authorised under its domestic law; where, in exchange for the removal of organs, the living donor, or a third party, receives a financial gain or comparable advantage; where in exchange for the removal of organs from a deceased donor, a third party receives a financial gain or comparable advantage. The Convention also provides protection measures and compensation for victims as well as prevention measures to ensure transparency and equitable access to transplantation services.
- The Anti-Doping Convention: The objective of this convention is to standardise anti-doping regulations throughout all member states, ensuring they adopt legislative, financial, scientific and educational measures to efficiently fight doping in sport. It aims to give a common framework to each country’s specific policy in which athletes are subject to the same procedures, regardless of which country they are representing.
- Medicrime Convention: Thanks to the “Medicrime” convention (Convention on the counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes involving threats to public health), which is open to non-European states, it is now possible to punish as criminal offences, on the grounds of damage to public health, the distribution and sale, including via the internet, of counterfeit medical products.
- The Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats: The purpose of this convention is to monitor and control endangered and vulnerable plant and animal species while protecting their natural habitats. It gives advice on scientific and legal issues and encourages and co-ordinates further research in this area.
- European Landscape Convention: This convention promotes the protection, management and planning of European landscapes and organises European co-operation on landscape issues. The Council of Europe supports the continent’s natural landscape as an integral part of our shared heritage, be it ordinary or outstanding, urban or rural, on land or in water.
4. Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms
- Every country which joins the
Council of Europe agrees to be subject to independent monitoring mechanisms
which assess its compliance with human rights and democratic practices. In
some cases, such mechanisms have been set up under a treaty. MONEYVAL (The Committee
of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing
of Terrorism): Set up in 1997, MONEYVAL is responsible for ensuring that
member states establish effective systems for combating, money laundering and
the financing of terrorism.
- GRETA (Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings): The working group attached to the Convention of the same name, regularly publishes reports evaluating the action taken by states to implement the measures set out in the Convention on trafficking in Human Beings. They also made proposals for further action.
- The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI): This body monitors problems of racism, discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, citizenship, colour, religion and language, as well as xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance, prepares reports and issues recommendations to member states.
- Group of States against Corruption (GRECO): Greco identifies deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies and encourages states to carry out the necessary legislative, institutional or administrative reforms. Its evaluation is based on the relevant Council of Europe conventions. European Committee of Social Rights: The Committed checks whether the rights to housing, health, education, employment and freedom of movement guaranteed by the European Social Charter are being implemented by the countries concerned.
- Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities: The convention provides for a monitoring mechanism which evaluates and improves the protection of minorities in the countries concerned, in particular their right to freedom of assembly, of expression, of conscience, of religion and freedom of access to the media and to their language.
- Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages: The Charter is the only treaty in the world for promoting traditional regional or minority languages. The Committee checks to ensure that the States Parties are taking the necessary steps to actively promote the use of these languages in all areas of public life.
Protecting and promoting the rule of law is one of the cornerstones of the Council of Europe, which works to ensure justice and develop common standards in the field. It actively encourages member states to implement these standards in their national law-enforcement bodies. The Council of Europe’s main mechanisms to ensure respect for the rule of law are:
· The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice: The work of the CEPEJ is focused on developing management tools, best practice and guidelines for improving the quality and efficiency of justice. It regularly publishes a report on the evaluation of European judicial systems.
· The Consultative Council of European Judges is an advisory body of the Council of Europe on issues related to the independence, impartiality and competence of judges. It is the first body within an international organization to be composed exclusively of judges. The Consultative Council of European Prosecutors.
A partial agreement allows certain Council of Europe member states to work together in pursuit of goals that might not necessarily be relevant or acceptable to all countries. Only those member states involved in the agreements contribute to their financing and development.
The partial agreements are important in establishing and maintaining close co-operation between member states on a range on specific issues. These partial agreements include:
· The Venice Commission (European Commission for Democracy through Law): The Venice Commission is the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters. With 60 members worldwide, it provides legal advice to its member states and, in particular, to help states wishing to bring their legal and institutional structures into line with European standards and international experience in the fields of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It also helps to ensure the dissemination and consolidation of a common constitutional heritage, playing a unique role in conflict management, and provides “emergency constitutional aid” to states in transition. It is composed of constitutional and international law experts and is recognised as an international independent legal think-tank. USA has observer status in this commission.
- The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Healthcare (EDQM): The Directorate sets official standards for the manufacture of medicines, and for certain sectors such as blood transfusion and the transplantation of organs. It is also responsible for combating the counterfeiting of medical products. The: The Observatory collects and disseminates statistical and analytical data on cinema, radio, television and audio-visual services in Europe.
- The Pompidou Group: This is the Council of Europe’s frontline taskforce fighting drug abuse and drug trafficking. Its core mission is to contribute to the development of innovative and effective drug policies in its member states, focussing especially on the realities of local implementation of drug programmes. USA contributes on an ad hoc basis with this group.
- Eurimages: The first body of its kind in Europe, Eurimages finances the co-production, distribution, digitisation and exhibition of European cinematographic works, while at the same time encouraging co-operation between film professionals.
- The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB): Based in Paris, the Bank is the only financial institution with an exclusively social purpose. Its primary objective is to help resolve the social problems created by the presence of refugees, displaced persons, victims of natural or environmental disasters and by movements of refugees or other forced movements of population.
- North-South Centre: Set up in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1990, the North-South Centre promotes dialogue between North and South and the adoption of policies of solidarity in line with the objectives of the Council of Europe.
- European centre for Modern Languages (Graz, Austria): The centre supports the development of language teaching and learning as a means of encouraging communication and co-operation.
- Enlarged partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS): The purpose of this partial agreement is to promote sport and to highlight the positive values it conveys. EPAS also works to establish international standards and develop a pan-European framework for co-operation.
The Council of Europe undertakes a wide range of campaigns and projects in order to promote its fundamental principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. These are a vital tool for raising awareness on key issues and fostering co-operation and communication within and between member states.
- European Day against the Death Penalty: This day celebrates the process of the abolition of the death penalty as reflected in protocol 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights. All of the Council of Europe’s member states have abolished or introduced a moratorium against the death penalty, believing it has no place in a modern democratic society. The Parliamentary Assembly continues to monitor the situation, even in those countries with observer status, especially USA and Japan. Ahead of the World and European Day against the Death Penalty, the 47-nation Council of Europe and the 28-member European Union have issued a joint declaration underlining their firm opposition to capital punishment and calling on countries across Europe to move towards abolition.
- No Hate Speech Movement: This campaign is against the use of hate speech, racism and discrimination online. It stands for equality, dignity, human rights and diversity. The working methods are awareness raising, advocacy and creative solutions. It is a project for action and intervention which enables young people and youth organisations to recognise and act against such human rights violations. It is a project being run by the Council of Europe’s youth sectors since 2012. It aims to combat racisms and discrimination, as expressed online as hate speech, by mobilizing young people and youth organisation to recognise and act against such human rights violations.
- Dosta!: Dosta, meaning “enough”, is the campaign aimed at fighting prejudice towards the Roma community. It is part of the Council of Europe’s work to protect national minorities and its goal is to counter the negative image of Roma citizens which is all too often presented.
- The Council of Europe LGBT Project: The goal of this project is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life among LGBT people in Europe by supporting member states in their efforts to develop a robust LGBT policy, strengthening human rights for LGBT people, and supporting the national fight against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Building a Europe for and with Children: This strategy focuses on a number of strategic objectives to promote child-friendly services and systems, eliminate all forms of violence against children, and guarantee the rights of children in vulnerable situations and to promote child participation.
- One in Five: the Council of Europe campaign to stop sexual violence against children: Combating sexual violence against children through specific legal instruments and comprehensive awareness-raising actions are two of the strategic objectives of the program “Building a Europe for and with children”.
8. European Union and Council of Europe Co-operation
Do not get confused, the European Union and the Council of Europe are separate organisations which share the same fundamental values–human rights democracy and the rule of law but have yet complementary roles.
- Council of Europe: an international organisation in Strasbourg which comprises 47 countries of Europe. It was set up to promote democracy and protect human rights and the rule of law in Europe.
- European Union (EU): the EU currently has 28 members that have delegated some of their sovereignty so that decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be made democratically European level.
- The two organisations work closely together under The Lisbon Treaty, in areas of mutual interest, such as promoting human rights and democracy in Europe and neighbouring regions. Some major programmes and substantial financial resources have been deployed with a view to achieving the organisations’ common goal of peace.
- Negotiations for EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights are underway as pledged in the Lisbon Treaty 2009. This represents a decisive step forward in co-operation and will strengthen the protection of human rights in Europe. It will allow citizens the same rights regarding the acts of the EU as they currently enjoy from individual member states.
- Joint programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Commission remain a unique tool to promote and protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. They are designed to facilitate and support legal and institutional reform. Over the years, Joint Programmes have become one of the major instruments of co-operation. They are agreed between the Council of Europe and the EU’s European Commission, in consultation with the governments of the countries concerned.
9. Global Co-operation (Non-Member States):
The Council of Europe is constantly reaching out to non-member states, many of whom are parties to treaties or partial agreements, in order to widen its scope of action and promote its fundamental values on an international level. The Council of Europe also has five states which have observer status with the Organisation: the Holy See (1970), the United States of America, Canada and Japan (1996) and Mexico (1999).
Relations with non-member states across the world enable the Council of Europe’s activities to reach all corners of the globe. More than 45 non-member states are parties to Council of Europe conventions, or associated with it as members or observers of or participants in partial agreements such as the Venice Commission and the North-South Centre. More and more of the Council of Europe's legal instruments are drawn up in consultation with interested non-member states.
- The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE): The Council of Europe holds regular high-level meetings with the OSCE on areas such as terrorism, non-discrimination, the fight against trafficking in human beings and election observation. Both organisations have the same fundamental values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law targeting political stability, economic development and social cohesion.
- The United Nations (UN): The UN and the Council of Europe co-operate on a wide range of different areas to protect and promote human rights. As a regional partner of the UN, the Council of Europe regularly contributes to the work of UN agencies and funds, especially in the fields of discrimination, human trafficking, violence against women and intercultural dialogue.
- Organization of American States (OAS): A wide range of areas of co-operation exist between the Council of Europe and the OAS, enshrined in a Memorandum of Understanding (2011), designed to achieve the institutions’ common objectives. These areas of co-operation include freedom of the media, data protection, women’s rights, social cohesion, electoral matters and fighting drug trafficking. There is also a constant exchange of information between the two institutions in order to help them tackle cybercrime and corruption.
10. Council of Europe Member States
Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.
11. Council of Europe Observer States
Canada, the Holy See, Japan, Mexico and the United States of America.
- Accession: act whereby a state expresses its consent to be bound by a treaty. It has the same legal effect as ratification and is the instrument by which non-member states of the Organisation become parties to the Council of Europe treaties.
- Convention: a formal agreement, contract, pact or treaty which is binding under international law. Most of the Council of Europe treaties are entitled “conventions” but some are referred to as “agreements”, “charters”, “codes” or “protocols”. Whatever their denomination, all these instruments are treaties as defined by the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
- Instrument of ratification: document by which a state expresses its consent to be bound by a treaty. The instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval must be issued by the Head of State, Head of Government or Minister for Foreign Affairs and signed accordingly.
- “Full powers”: document by which the Head of State, Head of Government or Minister for Foreign Affairs authorises a person, usually an Ambassador or a Minister, to sign a treaty on behalf of the State.
- Procès-verbal: document prepared by the Treaty Office certifying that a state has signed, ratified, accepted, approved or acceded to a treaty.
- Recommendation: a proposal by the Parliamentary Assembly addressed to the Committee of Ministers. The implementation of this measure is beyond the competence of the Assembly, but governments can decide to act on the recommendations given.
- Resolution: embodies a decision by the Assembly on a question of substance which it is empowered to put into effect, or an expression of a view for which it alone is responsible.
- Signature: act whereby a state indicates its intention to become party to a treaty. In principle, the signature precedes the ratification of the treaty.
The following links give access to complete Council of Europe documents including working papers, press releases, newsletters, Court judgments and adopted texts. The list combines websites, general repositories, libraries and information centres. There is no loan service.
- Council of Europe Online Bookshop: The full catalogue features publications produced by the Organisation over the last 10 years, a total of over 1,200 books and electronic publications. The works published by the Council of Europe include comparative studies, monographs, and topical debates, proceedings of colloquies, international legal instruments and official texts.
- Edoc, Council of Europe free Resources: free documentation for the general public on the site with a search engine to easily locate resources by topic and language and place orders for free documentation (PDF and/or Print versions). The database includes brochures, posters, documentation for teachers, book excerpts, etc.
- HUDOC: The HUDOC database provides access to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights (Grand Chamber, Chamber and Committee judgments, decisions, communicated cases, advisory opinions and legal summaries from the Case-Law Information Note), the European Commission of Human Rights (decisions and reports) and the Committee of Ministers (resolutions). The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Portal is a powerful, modern and user-friendly information system.
- Press releases collection: This collection contains all the press releases issued by the Registry since 1 January 1999. Available in English and French, they include summaries of judgments and decisions delivered by the Court and information about cases pending and about the Court’s activities in general. Press releases are normally available in both English and French and are in PDF format.
- Council of Europe working documents: The council of Europe has many means of primary resources available including websites and online databases which provide access to the full text of Council of Europe documents (working papers, press releases, newsletters, Court judgments, adopted texts, etc.). The list combines both general repositories and databases of specific entities European Court of Human Rights Library: The collections includes:
o Documentation and Case-Law on the European Convention on Human Rights;
o International Public Law;
o Constitutional Law.
- European Convention on Human Rights: Factsheets and information on all articles contained within the Convention available in a number of languages.
- ArchivalWare-Electronic Archives: ArchivalWare is an access point to the digital collections of the Archives including audio recordings and image files, as well as an increasing collection of external documents. This digital repository is a complement to the online catalogue WebCAT with access to bibliographical references.
- Portal of the Council of Europe: Access to several entities’ websites that contain many documentary resources.
- Press and Multimedia: Photos, video, press releases, thematic files, etc.
- Google Books: Thanks to a partnership with Google, more than 3 300 Council of Europe books are available in text in the Google Books database.
- ISSUU: Digital publishing platform containing Council of Europe and human rights related documentation.
- HELP Training resources: A practical guide featuring a wide selection of case studies article by article on the application of human rights law.
- Treaty Office: Texts of treaties (Agreements, Charter, Conventions, Statute), explanatory reports, chart of signatures and ratifications.
- European Pharmacopoeia Library (EDQM): The collection contains:
o various European Pharmacopoeia publications (official editions as well as Pharmeuropa and its special issues);
o a wide collection of national pharmacopoeias from all over the world;
o scientific and technical reference thesis in the field of the quality of medicines;
o specialised magazines on research and pharmacy.
- Pharmacopoeias are a reference tool for pharmacists, industries and public health authorities responsible for the quality control of commercialised medicines.
- CPT-Anti-Torture Committee: Database of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) including CPT reports, public statements and standards.
- Cultural Policies Collection: The collection includes books, articles, documents, also electronic ones, dealing with cultural policy issues. The emphasis is put on material with a European dimension.
- Documentation and Resource Centre of the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML): The collection on language education methodology includes:
o the publications and workshop reports of the ECML;
o materials relating to the major focuses of the Centre (e.g., organisation and setting up of language learning and teaching, language awareness, intercultural competence, language education and ICT, quality assurance, learner autonomy, bilingual education, early language learning);
o reference and specialised multimedia resources, publications of the Council of Europe Language Policy Division, international organisations and national and cultural institutions of the Member States of the ECML.
- Web Cube Documentaire: The document database Web Cube Documentaire (WCD) provides access to the full text documents Council of Europe entities, press releases and notifications.
- European Youth Centre Library, Budapest: The library put at the general disposal reference works, documents, files and publications related to the work of the Council of Europe in the youth field. Special emphasis is given to human rights education and on national and international non-governmental youth organisations.
- Information Centre of the European Youth Centre, Strasbourg: The Information Centre provides documentation for the educational activities of the Directorate of Youth and Sport. Many documentation resources are also available on line.
- Information Offices throughout Europe: Council of Europe information offices available in member states.
- North-South Documentation Centre, Lisbon: The collection of the Documentation Centre includes books and documents related to the different fields of work of the North-South Centre:
o Strategies and capacity building for Global Education;
o Training and capacity building for youth and youth organizations;
o Intercultural Dialogue;
o Human Rights, Democratic Governance and Development;
o Migrations and co-development.