ECHR: power to the people

03 November 2011 by Geraldine Coughlan

Reforms are desperately needed by the European Court of Human Rights – the supra-national court for citizens in 47 countries, which belong to the Council of Europe. It is based on the European Convention on Human Rights – the only international human rights agreement that provides the individual with a high degree of protection.

In almost fifty years, the court has delivered more than 10,000 judgements, spanning a range of issues - from armed conflict, extradition and discrimination - to hunting, pensions and putting up posters.

The Council of Europe paid its first official visit to The Hague on Wednesday, to lobby for support and advice from the city of International Peace and Justice. The Council’s Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland spoke to Geraldine Coughlan.

As the host to international courts, what can the Netherlands offer the Council of Europe?
The Netherlands was one of the founding fathers of the Council of Europe and now we are in a very intensive reform process around the whole organisation.

In particular the Court of Human Rights is in desperate need of reform and it is very important that the Netherlands is involved in that debate because of the background of this country and therefore they have a lot to contribute.

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