Council of Europe
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Council of European intergovernmental body set up in 1949 to promote European political, economic, social and cultural integration. It is distinct from the EUROPEAN UNION. There were originally ten signatory states, including the UK. There are currently 46 member states. The Council's principal work has been in the area of human rights. The European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms was drawn up under the auspices of the Council. The economic and social counterpart of the Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter, was promulgated in 1961 and revised in 1996. Although lacking an equivalent enforcement mechanism, the European Social Charter is intended to protect the rights of the individual in such areas as employment, social security and discrimination. The Charter also promotes social cohesion and cooperation amongst member states in relation to migration. Considerable discretion is left to member states in the realization of these rights. Other work of the Council of Europe includes issues such as the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, human rights and biomedicine and fighting corruption
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006