Cooperation with the Council of Europe

All CoE member states are bound by the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the Convention), a treaty designed to protect civil and political rights in wider Europe. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), an international court set up in 1959, rules on violations of the rights and principles set out in the Convention.

Implementation of the Convention

NHRIs are core stakeholders in the Convention system, as expressed in Council of Europe’s Brighton Declaration. The declaration affirms the crucial role of NHRIs in ensuring the effective implementation of the Convention at a national level, as well as the importance of the collaboration between NHRIs and CoE.

The Brighton Declaration (2012)
The Brighton Declaration .. expresses the determination of the States Parties to ensure effective implementation of the Convention at national level by taking specific measures, such as the establishment, if they have not already done so, of an independent National Human Rights Institution”(....) “The States Parties and the Court also share responsibility for ensuring the viability of the Convention mechanism. The States Parties are determined to work in partnership with the Court to achieve this, drawing also on the important work of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe as well as the Commissioner for Human Rights and the other institutions and bodies of the Council of Europe, and working in a spirit of co-operation with civil society and National Human Rights Institutions.”

The Brussels Declaration (2012)
The 2015 Brussels Declaration focused specifically on the implementation of the Convention as a shared responsibility and stresses the importance of involving the NHRIs throughout the different stages of the process.

ENNHRI considers that the main challenge to the Convention system into the future is the ability of the Council of Europe to operate as an international organisation to ensure compliance with the Convention by its individual Member States.

In order to maximise the impacts of NHRIs’ work to ensure the implementation of the Convention and ECtHR judgments, ENNHRI has developed Guidelines on the Implementation of ECtHR Judgments, for use by all NHRIs across the CoE.

Participation in the Development of Standards

ENNHRI has permanent observer status at the CoE’s Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH), which develops recommendations with the aim of promoting human rights in Europe and improving the effectiveness of the control mechanism established by the European Convention on Human Rights.

ENNHRI participates in meetings of the CDDH and its subordinate bodies and has been actively involved in various topics, including the reform of the Court, accession of the EU to the Convention, issuing opinions on the CDDH Draft Opinion on the issues to be covered at the Interlaken Conference and on the Longer-term future of the system of the Convention and the ECtHR.

Third-party interventions

Through its Legal Working Group, ENNHRI also submits third-party interventions (amicus curiae) before the Court in relation to cases that have a regional significance.

ENNHRI also liaises with the Court Registry (which provides legal and administrative support to the Court in the exercise of its judicial functions) and is represented at the opening of the Court.

Commissioner for Human Rights

Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights (right) and Prof. Allan Miller, ENNHRI chair (left) attended ENNHRI’s General Assembly in Utrecht, 2015

ENNHRI has a close working relationship with the Commissioner for Human Rights and his Office. The Commissioner has organized several round tables for European NHRIs over the past 15 years, and liaises with ENNHRI on various geographic and thematic human rights issues in Europe.