Council of Europe

The Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, France, now covers virtually the entire European continent with its 47 member countries. Founded on 5 May 1949 by 10 countries, the Council of Europe seeks to develop throughout Europe common and democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other reference texts on the protection of individuals.

Human Rights, Democracy, and Rule of Law:

These values are the foundations of a tolerant and civilized society and indispensable for European stability, economic growth and social cohesion. On the basis of these fundamental values, the Council of Europe tries to find shared solutions to major problems such as terrorism, organized crime and corruption, cybercrime, bioethics and cloning, violence against children and women, and trafficking in human beings. Cooperation between all member states is the only way to solve the major problems facing society today.

Objectives:

  • to promote awareness and encourage the development of Europe's cultural identity and diversity;
  • to find common solutions to the challenges facing European society;
  • to consolidate democratic stability in Europe by backing political, legislative and constitutional reform

Among the Council of Europe's activities are a number of projects relating to Holocaust education and remembrance.  The Council of Europe was a moving spirit behind the establishment of January 27th as Holocaust Remembrance Day in Europe, and continues, in particular, to provide support to teachers in their preparations for the event.  The Council of Europe has also established various ongoing projects related to 'Teaching Remembrance,' 'History Teaching' and a special project on the Education of Roma Children.  Read a 2009 Council of Europe newsletter on education and the Holocaust here.

In February 2010, Ambassador Tom Vraalsen, the IHRA Chair under the Chairmanship of Norway, and Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE), signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the IHRA and the Council of Europe. 

The purpose of the Memorandum between the CoE and the IHRA is to enhance their cooperation on combating antisemitism, xenophobia, hate crimes and other forms of extremism.  This cooperation aims to raise awareness of the importance of Holocaust education and remembrance in the member States of both the IHRA and the CoE, including coordination of measures to open national archives, encouraging governments to strengthen Holocaust education in their societies and sharing best practices.