Human Rights Directorate
The Human Rights Directorate works to promote and develop human rights
and to ensure that they are complied with in the Council of Europe’s
member states. Its responsibilities include: developing human rights law
and the Council’s policy in the field; supervising the application of
the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights; and implementing
the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and
Degrading Treatment or Punishment (ECPT), the European Social Charter
(ESC), the European Code of Social Security and the Convention on Human
Rights and Biomedicine.
By means of intergovernmental co-operation the Human Rights Directorate contributes to the establishment of shared standards in the field of human rights and to strengthening the effectiveness of the supervisory mechanisms set up by the European Convention on Human Rights and other relevant treaties. Under this head, the directorate has responsibility, in particular, for the activities of the Steering Committee for Human Rights and the Steering Committee on Bioethics. In parallel, it takes charge of co-ordinating and developing synergies with other national and international organisations or institutions working in the same field – the United Nations, OSCE and the European Union, including the Fundamental Rights Agency.
The directorate assists the Committee of Ministers in supervising the application of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights by the member states.
It supplies the secretariat of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the supervisory organ set up under the ECPT.
It serves the European Committee of Social Rights in its task of handling state reports and collective complaints from NGOs and trades unions relating to the implementation of the European Social Charter; in addition it fulfils the function of secretariat of the Governmental Committee of the Social Charter and Code of Social Security.
In addition, the directorate organises human rights co-operation and assistance activities at the request of member states. These are financed by the Council of Europe’s budget, but also by other sources, including voluntary contributions, joint programmes with the European Commission and the Human Rights Trust Fund (HRTF).