The Council of Europe and its various bodies

The Council of Europe

The Council of Europe

Founded in 1949 by the Treaty of London and based in Strasbourg, France, the Council of Europe is the continent’s leading human rights organisation.
It has 47 member states, 28 of which are members of the European Union. All Council of Europe member states have signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights, a treaty designed to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

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The Council of Europe was the first European organisation to be founded after the end of the Second World War.

The Committee of Ministers

The Committee of Ministers

The Committee of Ministers is the Council of Europe's decision-making body. It comprises the foreign affairs ministers of all the member states, or their permanent diplomatic representatives in Strasbourg. The Chairmanship rotates and changes every 6 months following the English alphabetical order of the member countries.

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The Council of Europe has produced over 200 treaties and conventions in many fields of activity.

The Parliamentary Assembly

The Parliamentary Assembly

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) was historically the first European Parliamentary Assembly. It is composed of delegations from the parliaments of the 47 member states, whose size varies according to size of country.

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It was the Parliamentary Assembly which first adopted the European flag and anthem.

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is responsible for strengthening local and regional democracy in its 47 member states. Its role is to promote local and regional democracy, improve local and regional governance and strengthen local self-government.

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The Congress comprises 648 elected representatives representing more than 200,000 European local and regional authorities.

The Commissioner for Human Rights

The Commissioner for Human Rights

The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent institution within the Council of Europe, whose task is to promote respect for human rights in the member states.

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The Council of Europe's 47 member states form a death-penalty-free zone.

The European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is an international court established in 1959. It rules on individual or state applications alleging violations of the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.

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More than 50,000 new applications are lodged with the Court every year, mostly by individuals. 

Visit the Council of Europe

Visit the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe Visitors’ Service organises guided tours and study programmes adapted to each group. Guided tours are designed mainly for visitors wanting more general information on the Council of Europe. Study programmes are tours tailored to the needs and interests of the groups (teachers, lawyers, university students, etc.). All visits are free of charge and must be booked in advance at:
Visitors’ Service - Public Relations
Council of Europe, F-67075 STRASBOURG Cedex
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 20 29 - Fax: +33 (0)3 88 41 27 54 - E-mail: visites@coe.int