Human Rights Directorate

Prevention of Torture and Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The European Committee
for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) visits places of detention, in order to assess how persons deprived of their liberty are treated. These places include prisons, juvenile detention centres, police stations, holding centres for immigration detainees, psychiatric hospitals.

Execution of
the Court's judgments

Respect of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and, in particular, of the Court's judgments, is a crucial element of the Council of Europe's system for the protection of human rights, rule of law and democracy and, hence, for democratic stability and European unification.


European Social Charter and European Code of Social Security

European Social Charter
The European Social Charter, the natural complement of the European Convention on Human Rights, guarantees social and economic human rights. It was adopted in 1961 and revised in 1996. The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) is the body responsible for monitoring compliance in the states party to the Charter.

European Code of Social Security
The European Code of Social Security and its Protocol, as well as the Revised European Code of Social Security, set standards in the social security field on the basis of minimum harmonisation of the level of social security, providing minimum standards and permitting (or rather encouraging) the contracting parties to exceed these standards.


Human Rights Policy and Development

Intergovernmental Co-operation
The principal role of the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH), under the auspices of the Committee of Ministers, is to set up standards commonly accepted by the 47 member States with the aim of developing and promoting human rights in Europe and improving the effectiveness of the control mechanism established by the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Oviedo Convention, signed by most of the European States, together with its Additional Protocols, sets out the fundamental principles applicable in day-to-day medicine as well as those applicable to new technologies in human biology and medicine.

Human Rights Law and Policy
Strengthening and developing human rights through new legal and political instruments, guaranteeing coherence and synergies in the development of human rights law and policy.

European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP)
The HELP Programme supports the Council of Europe member states in implementing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) at the national level, in accordance with the Committee of Ministers Recommendation (2004) 4, the 2010 Interlaken Declaration and the 2012 Brighton Declaration.


Justice and Legal Co-operation


Independence and efficiency of justice

Efficiency of justice
The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) is an innovative body entrusted with promoting and developing the tools and measures aimed at improving efficiency and quality of user-oriented judicial systems in the member States.

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 organisation to be composed exclusively of judges, and in this respect, it is unique in Europe.

Composed exclusively of prosecutors, the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) is an advisory body of the Council of Europe. It gives advice on issues related to the status of prosecutors and the exercise of their duties, in particular to facilitate the implementation of Recommendation Rec(2000)19 on the role of public prosecution in the criminal justice system.

Legal co-operation

Public and private law development
The European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) is an inter-governmental body which sets new standards – and regularly evaluates existing ones – in the field of public and private law. Its competence is defined by the priorities of the Council of Europe and the needs of member States; it has a well-known expertise notably in the area of family law and and nationality. Moreover, it works in the fields of administrative law, justice and rule of law.

To increase awareness of the Council of Europe’s standards in the fields of human rights and the rule of law the Justice and Legal Co-operation Department provides training to members of legal bodies and other professionals. They are thus able to make extensive use of those norms and case-law in their daily work at national and, where appropriate, at international level. The specific issues addressed are those that have been identified by the Council of Europe's various monitoring bodies as areas of concern in the country or group of countries in question.


See also :

Human Rights Trust Fund (HRTF)
The Fund finances activities that support member states’ efforts in implementing the European Convention on Human Rights ("the Convention”) and other Council of Europe human rights instruments and contributes to strengthening the sustainability of the European Court of Human Rights.