The Council of Europe’s mission is to protect and promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law. All Council of Europe member states agree to protect and promote those values when they join, bringing standards from Council of Europe legal treaties, recommendations or guidelines into their own law and practice and working together when new challenges arise. 

Monitoring is the process through which we measure to what extent those commitments are being met, and this is done in a variety of ways, and through a variety of different bodies, each with expertise in its own area.

Monitoring how a country is meeting its commitments after it joins the Council of Europe is the mandate of the Parliamentary Assembly’s Monitoring Committee, harvesting information through fact-finding visits and reviewing election observation reports and reports from other Council of Europe monitoring bodies. The procedure works in four ways: full monitoring procedure, post-monitoring dialogue, periodic reviews and specific report on the functioning of democratic institutions.

The state of local and regional democracy in the Council of Europe member states is assessed by the Congress monitoring committee on the basis of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and its additional Protocol on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority.

When the European Court of Human Rights judges that a country has violated the European Human Rights Convention checks need to be carried out to make sure that the judgment is respected. This is the work of the Council of Europe executive body, the Committee of Ministers, working in a special committee and backed by the Department for the Execution of Judgments which not only helps the Committee of Ministers in this task (see committees), but also provides support to the countries concerned.

In addition, specialist monitoring and advisory bodies exist to assess countries’ compliance with Council of Europe standards. These include:


Specialist monitoring bodies of the Council of Europe

Social rights

The European Committee of Social Rights and the governmental committee of the European Social Charter and the European Code of Social Security are tasked with monitoring how countries are meeting their obligations under the European Social Charter, the counterpart to the European Human Rights Convention that covers social and economic rights.

Torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

The European Committee for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CPT) monitors how countries are respecting their commitments to that convention by organising visits to places of detention such as prisons, juvenile detention centres, police stations, immigration holding centres, psychiatric hospitals or care homes.

Violence against women

The Council of Europe’s Convention on action against violence against women and domestic violence sets out ways that violence can be prevented,  women protected, perpetrators prosecuted and policies co-ordinated. A group of experts (GREVIO) and a political committee monitor the way countries are putting the convention into action.

Human trafficking

The Council of Europe Convention on action against trafficking in human beings aims to stop any sort of trafficking, whether national or transnational, linked or not to organised crime, and covers anyone who falls victim, be they man, woman or child. A group of experts (GRETA) and a political committee monitor how countries are applying the convention’s standards.


The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) was set up in 1994 to specialise in tracking racism, discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnic or national origin, colour, citizenship, religion, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance. It does this by country monitoring and focussing on general topics.

Protecting children from sexual exploitation

The Council of Europe Convention on protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse criminalises all kinds of sexual offences against children. It is monitored by a committee, which can also help to spread good practice and look at how to tackle specific challenges.

National minorities

An advisory committee has the task of monitoring how countries are respecting the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, whilst a committee of experts fulfils that role for the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Freedom of information

The Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents is the first international legal treaty that recognises the right to access official documents. It has two monitoring bodies – the Access Info Group, made up of technical experts and a political body called the Consultation of the Parties.

Data protection

The right to privacy and the right of an individual to have a say in the way their data is processed has long been a concern of the Council of Europe. The data protection convention – known as Convention 108 – is the only binding international legal treaty to cover the issue. Its consultative committee follows up how countries are respecting its principles.


 The Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime is an international treaty that gives countries the means to work together to combat crimes carried out through computer systems. The Cybercrime Convention Committee monitors how countries are doing and what action might be needed to meet future challenges.


The Group of states against corruption  - GRECO – is tasked with making sure countries follow Council of Europe standards on criminalising corruption in both public and private sectors.

Recovery of criminal assets

The Council of Europe Convention on laundering, search, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds from crime and on the financing of terrorism is monitored by a body called the Conference of the Parties. The Warsaw Convention, as it is known, is the only international treaty that gives national authorities the power to halt suspicious transactions to prevent their movement through the financial system.


The Committee of experts on the evaluation of anti-money laundering measures and the financing of terrorism – MONEYVAL– monitors how countries are complying with international standards to combat money-laundering, financing of terrorism, and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. MONEYVAL evaluates 33 states and territories.

Fake medical products

The Council of Europe Medicrime Convention aims to stop the trade in fake medicine and medical equipment that puts people’s lives and health at risk. A Committee of Parties monitors how it is being translated into national law.

Specialist advisory bodies of the Council of Europe


The European Commission for Democracy through Law, known as the Venice Commission, is the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters. It provides legal advice, especially when countries want to bring their legal and institutional structures in line with European standards.


The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice is tasked with improving the quality and efficiency of the European judicial systems and strengthening court users’ confidence in such systems.


The Consultative Council of European Judges gives advice on issues relating to the independence, impartiality and competence of judges. It is the only body within an international organisation to be composed exclusively of judges.


The Consultative Council of European Prosecutors gives advice on the role of public prosecution in the criminal justice system and collects information about the functioning of prosecution services in Europe.

Drug policies

The Pompidou Group, named after the former French President, this body provides knowledge, support and solutions for effective evidence-based drug policies from a human rights perspective. 

Doping and manipulation in sport

There are a number of Council of Europe treaties that deal with sport. The Council of Europe plays a key role in the fight against doping in sport, with its anti-doping convention monitored by a dedicated group and a special committee co-ordinating countries’ position on the issue. Monitoring of the Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions is carried out by a dedicated committee.

Fairer, safer sport

The Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) aims to make sport fairer and safer, and to ensure high ethical standards. Its work complements the Council of Europe conventions on different aspects of sport.

History teaching

The Observatory on History Teaching in Europe promotes quality history education to improve understanding of democratic culture amongst young people.

Cultural support

Eurimages is the Council of Europe body that promotes independent film-making by providing financial support for feature length films, animation and documentaries, encouraging co-operation between professionals in different countries.

Audiovisual market and legal information

The Council of Europe’s European Audiovisual Observatory represents a unique information network on the audiovisual industry in 40 countries, promoting transparency and full access to data.