Workshop 1: Human rights and the rule of law are under threat from the world
economic crisis and the fallout from various conflicts. How can we reassert them
and what new insights can we draw on to help us?
“1) The core objective of the Council of Europe is to preserve and promote
human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. All its activities should
contribute to this objective.
2) Human rights are universal and indivisible. They are the inalienable
rights of each and every individual. Ensuring that everyone Europe-wide can
fully exercise his or her rights in practice and without discrimination
constitutes the priority task of our Organisation. It has many achievements to
its credit, including the abolition of the death penalty. It will continue its
action to promote human rights in order to respond to the challenges of these
3) The European Court of Human Rights ensures the observance of the
engagements undertaken by member states under the European Convention on Human
Rights (ECHR) and represents the judicial dimension of this action. The Court
has for 50 years been securing the protection in practice of the rights of
individuals. We shall ensure that this continues to be the case by guaranteeing
the long-term effectiveness of the irreplaceable mechanism of the Convention.
6) We are committed to strengthening the rule of law throughout the
continent, building on the standard setting of the Council of Europe and its
contribution to the development of European and international law. This
invaluable work, carried out through legally binding conventions and other
instruments, will be continued, in particular to respond to the serious threats
represented by corruption and money laundering, organised crime and cybercrime.
In addition, counterfeit medicines and the unregulated use of biotechnology
require a concerted response at European level. At the same time, the Council of
Europe will forge ahead with its efforts to make the most of the potential of
the new technologies for the protection of human rights and the promotion of
7) The Council of Europe will also step up its action to make gender equality
a reality and to promote the rights of children and persons with disabilities.
It will pursue its efforts to fight human trafficking as well as to prevent and
combat violence against women and children, including domestic violence.”
Declaration of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Madrid, 12