Discover the Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law


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We develop and implement human rights and rule of law standards and activities.
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Discover the Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law

  1. 1. Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law Last up-date : 06/05/2014
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  3. 3. The Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law has overall responsibility for the development and implementation of the human rights and rule of law standards of the Council of Europe, including the promotion of democracy through law, the operation of relevant treaties and related monitoring mechanisms and the development and implementation of activities in these fields. The Directorate General is responsible for all matters within its competence that are relevant to the fulfilment of the Organisation's statutory objectives.
  4. 4. Human Rights Directorate Information Society and Action against Crime Directorate Venice Commission The Directorate General is organised as follows :
  5. 5. The Directorate works to promote, protect and develop human rights and rule of law and to ensure compliance of Council of Europe's member states. For this, the directorate puts into practice the Council of Europe's unique strategic triangle of standard-setting, monitoring and co-operation, which establishes mutual links between developing legally binding standards which are monitored by independent mechanisms and supplemented by co-operation and support activities.
  6. 6. 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.
  7. 7. Execution of the European Court of Human Rights 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.
  8. 8. 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.
  9. 9. 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.
  10. 10. Human Rights 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.
  11. 11. 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.
  12. 12. Bioethics 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.
  13. 13. 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.
  14. 14. 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 and 2012 Brighton Declarations. This is done by enhancing the capacity of judges, lawyers and prosecutors in all 47 member states to apply the ECHR in their daily work.
  15. 15. 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.
  16. 16. Capacity building in the fields of human rights and the rule of law To increase awareness of the Council of Europe’s standards in these fields, 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.
  17. 17. Efficiency of justice - CEPEJ 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.
  18. 18. Judges - CCJE The Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) 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.
  19. 19. Prosecutors - CCPE 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.
  20. 20. The Directorate is responsible for the Council of Europe's work on the media, information society and for action against crime. The Directorate's activities comprise standard-setting, monitoring and co-operation activities on a wide variety of issues including freedom of expression, data protection, internet governance, cybercrime, criminal law, fighting economic crime, corruption and money laundering as well as action against drug trafficking and drug abuse. It also promotes transparency and understanding of the functioning of audiovisual industries in Europe from a legal and economic point of view.
  21. 21. Media and freedom of expression There is no true democracy without freedom of expression and without free and pluralist media. The right to freedom of expression also applies to new forms of mass communication. The Council of Europe keeps freedom of expression and media standards under constant review; it provides assistance to ensure their respect, in line with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  22. 22. Cybercrime The Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe – the only binding international instrument in the field – provides guidelines for any country developing comprehensive national legislation against Cybercrime and as a framework for international co-operation between States Parties to this treaty.
  23. 23. Data protection The Convention, opened for signature on 28 January 1981, was the first legally binding international instrument in the data protection field. Parties to the convention are required to take the necessary steps in their domestic legislation to apply the principles it lays down in order to ensure respect in their territory for the fundamental human rights of all individuals with regard to processing of personal data.
  24. 24. Internet governance Promoting Internet governance built on the basis of human rights, the public service value of the Internet and multi-stakeholder dialogue.
  25. 25. European Audiovisual Observatory The Observatory was created in 1992 in order to collect and distribute information about the audiovisual industries in Europe. By making this information available, the Observatory aims at promoting greater transparency and a clearer understanding of the ways in which the audiovisual industries in Europe function, both from an economic and legal point of view.
  26. 26. European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC) The CDPC identifies priorities for intergovernmental legal co- operation, makes proposals to the Committee of Ministers on activities in the fields of criminal law and procedure, criminology and penology, and implements these activities.
  27. 27. Transnational criminal justice Treaties have been negotiated within the Council of Europe establishing a common basis for co-operation in criminal matters across Europe and sometimes beyond. They cover co-operation mechanisms such as extradition, mutual legal assistance and the transfer of persons serving prison sentences.
  28. 28. Prisons and community sanctions and measures The Council of Europe’s expertise in promoting more humane and socially effective prisons is unique. It has adopted a number of legal instruments, including the European Prison Rules and recommendations on education in prison, prison staff, healthcare in prison and prison overcrowding.
  29. 29. Criminal law cooperation Through bilateral co-operation activities and projects, the Criminal Law Co-operation Unit plays a major role in assisting the beneficiary countries to integrate the Council of Europe standards in their penitentiary, probation and law enforcement institutions.
  30. 30. Fighting the counterfeiting of medical products: MEDICRIME Convention The Council of Europe Convention on the counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes involving threats to public health (CETS No. 211) was opened for signature on 28 October 2011. The “Medicrime convention”, as it is known, constitutes the first binding international legal instrument criminalising offences committed in the medical field.
  31. 31. Action against terrorism The Council of Europe is dedicated to upholding human rights, the rule of law and pluralist democracy, and is determined to combat terrorism, which rejects these three fundamental values. Its work in this field begain in the 1970s, but efforts have been stepped up since 2001, following the unprecedented terrorist attacks in the United States.
  32. 32. Co-operation against economic crime and corruption Support is provided for the implementation of international and European standards against corruption, money laundering and the financing of terrorism. They follow up the recommendations of GRECO and MONEYVAL and include strategic policy and legislative advice, risk-assessments, identification of various reform related tools, training, capacity and institution building, networking modalities among homologue institutions in Europe, provision of equipment and the dissemination of good practices.
  33. 33. Money laundering and financing of terrorism MONEYVAL The Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL) evaluates compliance with relevant international and European standards to counter these crimes in 28 Council of Europe member states, Israel and the Holy See (including the Vatican City State).
  34. 34. Money laundering and financing of terrorism COP198 The Conference of the Parties set up under the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism (CETS No. 198) monitors the proper implementation of the Convention by the Parties and, at the request of a Party, expresses an opinion on any question concerning the interpretation and application of the Convention.
  35. 35. Fight against corruption: GRECO The Group of States against corruption (GRECO) is the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body; its 49 members comprise 48 European States and the United States of America. Its objective is to improve member States’ capacity to fight corruption by assessing their compliance with Council of Europe anti-corruption standards through a process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure. It helps to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption legislation and policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms.
  36. 36. Drug abuse and illicit trafficking: Pompidou Group The core mission of the Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs (Pompidou Group) is to contribute to the development of multidisciplinary, innovative, effective and evidence-based drug policies in its member states. It seeks to link Policy, Practice and Science and focuses especially on the realities of local implementation of drug programmes.
  37. 37. The European Commission for Democracy through Law - better known as the Venice Commission as its plenary sessions are held four times a year in Venice - is the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters. It provides legal advice on how to bring legal and institutional structures into line with European standards and international experience.
  38. 38. For any comments or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact us via our website. Discover more about the activities of the Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law