The Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) reports to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on questions of general human rights law and policy. It is composed of high-ranking government experts in human rights, along with a number of observers, including civil society organisations.

Its work has two main limbs: first, issues relating to the system of the European Convention on Human Rights, from national implementation, to the functioning of the European Court of Human Rights, to implementation of the Court’s judgments, including its supervision by the Committee of Ministers; and second, the development of human rights standards in emerging or challenging areas.

The CDDH produces reports and guidance under its own authority, along with draft instruments for adoption by the Committee of Ministers. The latter include non-binding instruments such as guidelines and recommendations to member States, and binding instruments such as new conventions and protocols to existing conventions. Most of these texts are published in a reader-friendly format. The CDDH is often asked to review the implementation by member States of non-binding instruments that it had prepared. The CDDH also gives technical advice to the Committee of Ministers on recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.

The CDDH meets twice a year in plenary composition, generally in Strasbourg. These meetings are prepared by its Bureau. The CDDH has a number of subordinate bodies that work on specific topics for a limited period of time, along with a permanent subordinate Committee of experts on the system of the European Convention on Human Rights (the DH-SYSC).

The CDDH’s current terms of reference can be found here.