Source description last updated: 19 March 2020

In brief:

The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human rights is an independent and impartial non-judicial institution, created in 1999 to promote human rights in Council of Europe member states.

Coverage on

Visit reports, thematic reports and recommendations.

Covered weekly on, for countries of priorities A-C.


“The fundamental objectives of the Commissioner for Human Rights are laid out in Resolution (99) 50 on the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. […]

[T]he Commissioner is mandated to […] foster the effective observance of human rights, and assist members states in the implementation of Council of Europe human rights standards; promote education in and awareness of human rights in Council of Europe member states; identify possible shortcomings in the law and practice concerning human rights; facilitate the activities of national ombudsperson institutions and other human rights structures; provide advice and information regarding the protection of human rights across the region. […]

Being a non-judicial institution, the Commissioner's Office cannot act upon individual complaints, but the Commissioner can draw conclusions and take wider initiatives on the basis of reliable information regarding human rights violations suffered by individuals.” (CoE – CommDH website: Mandate, undated)


CoE budget.

Scope of reporting:

Geographic: Council of Europe member states.

Thematic: Observance of human rights and implementation of human rights standards.


Visit Reports: “The Commissioner carries out visits to all member states to monitor and evaluate the human rights situation. In the course of such visits, she meets with the highest representatives of government, parliament, the judiciary, civil society and national human rights structures. She also talks to ordinary people with human rights concerns, and visits places of human rights relevance, including prisons, psychiatric hospitals, centres for asylum seekers, schools, orphanages and settlements populated by vulnerable groups.” (CoE – CommDH website: Mandate, undated)

The report on a visit to Turkey, for instance, was compiled based on “discussions with the Turkish authorities, members of the judiciary, national human rights structures and civil society. [It] focuses on the two main issues raised during the visit: the administration of justice and the protection of human rights in the justice system, and human rights defenders and civil society.” (Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe: Commissioner for human rights of the Council of Europe Dunja Mijatović; Report following her visit to Turkey from 1 to 5 July 2019, Summary, 19 February 2020, p. 4)

“Following the visits, a report or a letter may be addressed to the authorities of the country concerned containing an assessment of the human rights situation and recommendations on how to overcome shortcomings in law and practice.” (CoE – CommDH website: Mandate, undated)

Authorities of the country concerned usually publish a commentary on the issues raised in the visit report.

Thematic Reports: “The Commissioner also conducts thematic work on subjects central to the protection of human rights in Europe. She provides advice and information on the prevention of human rights violations and releases opinions, Issue Papers and reports.” (CoE – CommDH website: Mandate, undated)

Languages of publications:

English and languages of CoE member states.

Further reading:

Brummer, Klaus: Der Europarat; Eine Einführung, 2008, pp. 193-204

Informationsplattform Der Menschenrechtskommissar des Europarates, 24 December 2019

Deutscher Bundestag, Wissenschaftliche Dienste: Der Menschenrechtskommissar des Europarats, 10 June 2009

All links accessed 19 March 2020.