Council of Europe
Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe is the oldest intergovernmental organisation in Europe and was established to further cooperation between its member states on the basis of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Ireland is one of the ten founder members. The Council now comprises 47 States, including all EU States.
Ireland attaches high priority to the work of the Council of Europe in the area of human rights. One of Ireland's main objectives is to ensure that the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) remains an essential reference point for the protection of human rights in Europe as a whole. Ireland is a financial contributor to the Council's assistance programmes to promote democratic stability, human rights and the rule of law.
Following the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of Member States in Warsaw in 2005, the Council once again reaffirmed its continued commitment to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Within the Council a number of important human rights monitoring systems operate, including the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), and the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights.
As well as human rights, the Council is also active in the fields of legal and social affairs, public health, education, intercultural dialogue, heritage, local government, sports, youth affairs and the environment.
Political Division coordinates Ireland's policy towards the Council of Europe in close cooperation with other Government Departments and Ireland's Permanent Representation to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.